Crime Watch

April 16, 2008

20-year term imposed in light rail rape case

A serial sex offender was sentenced yesterday to the maximum 20 years in prison for repeatedly raping a 22-year-old woman he had met at an Anne Arundel County light rail station.

Eugene Waller, who was linked to the victim through DNA, entered an Alford plea to second-degree rape Friday, denying guilt but conceding that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.

Waller, 50, could have gotten up to life in prison on a charge of first-degree rape, but the prosecutors' case was damaged by convenience store security footage showing Waller and the victim holding hands before the assault. That lent credence to Waller's defense that the woman approached him to buy her beer.

Deputy State's Attorney Laura Kiessling cited Waller's prior convictions - first-degree rape and kidnapping in 1977; second-degree rape, kidnapping and battery in 1994 - in asking for the 20-year sentence, of which he will serve at least half.

The victim, whom The Sun is not identifying, was not in court, but Kiessling read from her impact statement: "I have nightmares and cannot get his face out of my mind. ... I am afraid to go to sleep every night."

Waller, whose 85-year-old mother and sisters attended the hearing, told the court, "I took an Alford plea because of my background. I'm innocent of this charge."

Nicole Fuller

Mother gets house arrest

An Anne Arundel County judge has released an Annapolis woman who was jailed two months ago on charges that she forced her teenage daughter into prostitution for drugs and cash.

Circuit Judge William C. Mulford II ordered house arrest yesterday for the woman, who has been charged with several counts of prostitution, sex abuse of a minor, sexual solicitation of a minor and related offenses.

The 34-year-old mother of three girls appeared at the bail-review hearing on a television screen from the Anne Arundel County Detention Center, where she has been held since her Feb. 5 arrest. Her bail was previously set at $500,000.

The Sun is not naming the mother in order to protect the privacy of the daughter, now 17 and living in Texas.

Thomas F. Ellis III, the woman's attorney, said in court that the middle daughter is in foster care and the youngest is staying with her paternal grandmother.

Nicole Fuller

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