Man who took hostage gets 4 years in prison

CRIME WATCH

October 17, 2006|By JULIE BYKOWICZ

A 21-year-old man who pleaded guilty last month to assaulting a law enforcement officer, false imprisonment and escape was sentenced yesterday in Baltimore District Court to four years in prison.

Rodney M. Bethea admitted that he took a civilian police employee hostage in April at the Northeastern District station in Baltimore, where he was being interviewed after an arrest on a charge of marijuana possession.

Yesterday in court, the employee submitted an impact statement that was reviewed by The Sun. In it, she describes the fear she felt and how the attack has made her tense and anxious.

Bethea first tried to hang himself in an interview room and then assaulted an officer with a 3-foot halogen light bulb, court documents show. He ran a room where the civilian was working, locked the door and armed himself with scissors and a letter opener, the documents show.

"I didn't know what to expect and thought my life was over," the employee's impact statement reads. "My life and family flashed through my head."

After a two-hour standoff, SWAT team members forced the door open and used a stun gun to subdue Bethea.

His sentence includes four years for false imprisonment, two years for assault and two years for escape, all to be served concurrently. Bethea can be eligible for parole after serving half of that time.

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