City Teen To Face Trial As Adult In Attempted Rape

July 03, 2009|By Melissa Harris | Melissa Harris,

A Baltimore teenager who has confessed to attempting to rape a 22-year-old baby-sitter during a random home-invasion and robbery will be tried as an adult, a Baltimore Circuit Court judge ruled Thursday.

While drunk and high on Ecstasy, Donnell Sampson, 17, is accused of donning a mask and breaking into a home on the same block he lived in on the north side of Patterson Park in December. After "getting spooked" by the baby-sitter's presence, Sampson and the other armed robber fled, prosecutor Amy Helbig said.

But according to Helbig, Sampson returned with a knife, forced the baby-sitter onto a bed and attempted to rape her, an attack the prosecutor described in detail during an emotional hearing in which Sampson's mother wept repeatedly.

"He made a choice," Helbig said of Sampson. "He made a decision to come back."

Sampson told Judge George L. Russell III, "I regret everything. I need another chance." And his attorney, Jane Loving, argued that the teen should be tried as a juvenile because he has no criminal history, has excelled in school and basketball in Delaware, but then fell in with "the wrong crowd" after his father died and he moved to Baltimore to live with his mother.

But Russell angrily asked Sampson: "What if someone had climbed into your mother's house wearing a mask and tried to rape her? How would you want me to deal with him?"

Sampson's mother told Russell that she partially blamed herself. She had been less strict than her son's father and, having grown up on the Eastern Shore, was unaware of the drugs and violence surrounding him at school and on the street.

"I didn't spend enough time with him," she said through tears.

But Russell turned to Sampson and blamed him, calling the act "vile," "heinous" and "stupid," and telling his mother that criminality can't always be attributed to parents.

"Look at your mother," Russell told Sampson. "She's dying."

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