Teen admits guilt in 2 assaults

Faces up to 30-year term in separate attacks on veteran Sun reporter and another man

November 28, 2006|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,Sun Reporter

An 18-year-old Baltimore man pleaded guilty in city Circuit Court yesterday in the attack on veteran Sun journalist Carl A. Schoettler, who was beaten on a downtown street in February.

Phillip M. Carter, who led the attack, is to be sentenced at a later date to no more than 30 years in prison.

Assistant Public Defender Jane McGough stated that Carter had been in the care of a psychiatrist but said that details on his treatment would not come out until his sentencing, which is expected to occur in February. Carter, who will turn 19 next week, has asked that he serve part of his sentence at a facility for young offenders.

Carter pleaded guilty to two counts of assault - one for Schoettler, who was 73 at the time of the attack, and another for the beating of a 65-year-old man that occurred hours later the same night - as well as one count each of robbery and conspiracy to rob.

Charges that Carter also had previously beaten a 43-year-old man who had fallen asleep at a bus stop will be dismissed, said Rita Wisthoff-Ito, an assistant state's attorney who is handling the case. "The other two cases are the stronger cases," she said, referring to Schoettler's and the 65-year-old's cases.

Another man charged in the assault on Schoettler, Latar C. Bradshaw, 23, and the driver of the getaway vehicle, Gregory G. Kulla, 37, who is charged with being an accessory after the fact and assault, pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to stand trial Feb. 22.

Neither Schoettler nor the second victim, Johnny Johnson, were in Judge Martin P. Welch's courtroom yesterday.

Schoettler, now 74, has returned to work at The Sun. He has declined to comment on the beating.

Attempts to reach Johnson were unsuccessful.

Wisthoff-Ito said that both men and members of their families would be present for Carter's sentencing to make victim-impact statements.

Schoettler, whose career in journalism has spanned more than 46 years, suffered severe head injuries as a result of the attack Feb. 25 and spent more than a week at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, according to Wisthoff-Ito. The prosecutor said Schoettler is still receiving therapy nearly a year after the beating and has yet to recover "100 percent."

The reporter was attacked about 8 p.m. after he stopped his car on Fayette Street near City Hall to speak with Kulla, who was driving a shuttle van for a strip club called Night Shift, after they were involved in a fender-bender.

When the two men decided there was no serious damage, they returned to their vehicles. But before Schoettler could get inside his Nissan, he was attacked by Carter, who was standing at a nearby bus stop with Bradshaw and Bradshaw's 5-year-old son.

According to Wisthoff-Ito, Carter punched the reporter in the head and kicked him multiple times before leaving him unconscious in the street.

When Carter returned to the bus stop where Bradshaw and his son were waiting, Bradshaw told Carter to see if Schoettler had any money, the prosecutor said. Carter then went back to the unconscious reporter, searched his pants pockets, and returned to Bradshaw with about $100 cash.

The two men split the cash, according to Wisthoff-Ito, and then hitched a ride with Kulla, who watched the beating and did not intervene or call police.

Police have said there was no evidence of a previous connection between Kulla and Bradshaw and Carter.

Wisthoff-Ito said that Johnson, who was attacked by Carter about midnight Feb. 25 as he was walking in the 1700 block of W. Baltimore St., suffered "severe face injuries" as a result of being hit and kicked by the defendant.

Wisthoff-Ito said that Johnson's blood was found on Carter's boot heel and that DNA collected from Schoettler's pants matched a sample taken from Carter.

Said the prosecutor: "I believe that after the judge hears from the victims that he is going to give [Carter] the 30 years."

lynn.anderson@baltsun.com

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