Convicted rapist, 40, gets life in prison


August 06, 2008|By NICOLE FULLER

A three-time convicted rapist was sentenced yesterday to life in prison in the rape of a 26-year-old Anne Arundel County woman almost two decades ago.

Wendell Keys, 40, of Gwynn Oak was convicted by a jury last month of first- and second-degree rape and false imprisonment for the 1990 attack. Keys was linked to the crime through the state's DNA database in 2005 and was indicted last year.

The woman, who is now 44, was at a Linthicum nightclub with a friend on the night of July 31, 1990, before she was raped in the back seat of a car by two men who threatened to kill her, said Pamela Alban, the prosecutor.

The Sun does not name victims of sexual assault.

In a letter to Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge William C. Mulford II, the victim spoke of the "devastating" impact the crime has had on her and her family, and said she has suffered from anxiety and debilitating depression and severe panic attacks.

"My normal and happy life has now been filled with so much turmoil and I've endured so much physical pain and mental anguish from this crime committed against me," the woman stated in the letter, which was read by the prosecutor in court.

Warren A. Brown, Keys' defense attorney, requested a motion for a new trial, arguing the verdict reached by the jury - guilty on first- and second-degree rape and false imprisonment, but acquittal on kidnapping and conspiracy charges - was inconsistent. Brown said the law requires one of three elements for a first-degree rape conviction - kidnapping, another individual's involvement or the use of a weapon - none of which, he said, were proven at trial. The judge rejected the motion.

Keys was convicted in 1990 and 1998 of second-degree rape in Baltimore County, according to court records.

Key's mother wept loudly as the judge announced the life sentence, and five years on the false imprisonment, which will run concurrently. As Keys was led from the courtroom in handcuffs, he turned toward his crying mother and said, "Chill out. I'll be home real soon."

Brown said he will appeal.

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