Man admits locking up girl, 15

In addition to 18-month prison term, judge orders him to take a course in fatherhood

December 02, 2006|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,sun reporter

The Northwest Baltimore man accused of punishing a teen-age girl by chaining her to a bed and leaving her for 60 hours pleaded guilty in Circuit Court yesterday to a charge of reckless endangerment and was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison.

Samuel David Pounds Jr., 30, will serve his sentence concurrently with a two-year term for violating probation from an unrelated marijuana distribution charge.

Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan also ordered Pounds to attend a six-month course in fatherhood, receive drug counseling, complete an anger management course and stay away from the 15-year-old-victim and her 8-year-old brother.

Pound's decision to chain his girlfriend's daughter to the bed "was unacceptable and excessive," said Assistant State's Attorney Ernest Reitz. "But not as malicious as initially thought."

Police had reported in June that the girl was chained as punishment for a bad report card. But Reitz said the girl was chained to punish her for inviting teenage boys into the home who then stole property from the girl's mother.

"They [Pounds and the girl's mother] sincerely believed they were doing their best to discipline her," Reitz said. "They were worried about her running with the wrong crowd."

Prosecutors said they agreed to the plea agreement to avoid a trial that would force the victim to testify against members of her family.

The girl's mother, Tia Whitehead, 34, pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in October and is scheduled to be sentenced this month.

Lawrence B. Rosenberg, an attorney representing Pounds, said in an interview that initial reports that the girl was left without food and water during her imprisonment were also false. "She got fed," Rosenberg said. "She was unchained to go to the bathroom."

Rosenberg said the girl had at one point achieved good grades in school but had recently started spending time with kids her mother disapproved of. He said his client was "remorseful" for the way they punished the girl.

According to a statement of facts read in court, Pounds beat Kenya Lincoln, 15, then removed her clothes and tied a chain around her ankle about 11 p.m. June 16. He pushed a chest against the bedroom door and then padlocked it on the outside. Aside from the bed and the chest, the only other furniture in the room was a training potty, Reitz said.

The girl dragged the bed across the room to a window and yelled for help. Deon Graham, a 10-year-old neighbor who was hauling an empty propane tank through the alley, heard her cries and called 911. "I knew she needed me to do something for her," Graham told The Sun in June.

A Baltimore police officer came to the house and was greeted by the girl's 8-year-old brother, Reitz said in court. The officer heard a call for help from upstairs and saw the padlocked door. He pried open the door enough to see the girl chained to the bed. She was dressed in a tank top and underwear. Both children were taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The two children are now staying with the father of the 8-year-old, Reitz said.

Pounds, dressed in a blue-gray department of corrections shirt and pants, had nothing to say in court yesterday when the judge offered him a chance to explain his actions.

Kaplan said: "Do you realize the seriousness of what you did?"

Pounds replied: "Yes, sir."

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