A 27-year-old Ellicott City woman who had her son's father arrested and then took the boy was sentenced Wednesday to nearly four months in jail for violating a protective order and abducting a relative within the state.
Jennifer Nolan told Howard County District Judge Mary C. Reese that she was wrong to take her 2-year-old son in January, but she said that losing custody of him last October proved difficult.
Nolan had custody of the child for the first 14 months of his life while the father, Theodore Gresser, was attending college in California, but according to her mother spent much of the time trying unsuccessfully to fight drug addiction.
"It was really hard from having him every day to not seeing him at all," said Nolan, who regained shared custody during her detention since her Jan. 10 arrest.
Nolan had taken her son from her mother's Columbia house around 8 p.m. on Jan. 9. Nolan's mother was watching her grandson because Gresser, a 25-year-old University of Maryland student, had been arrested by Howard County police on a theft charge filed two days earlier by Nolan.
"This was a calculated event," Assistant State's Attorney Devora Pontell said in court.
Nolan was arrested by Baltimore County police about 1:45 a.m. the following morning after her car ran out of gas in White Marsh.
In court on Wednesday, Gresser told Reese he feared Nolan would "take off again" with their son if given the opportunity. Nolan said she was five months pregnant and needed better prenatal care than she has been receiving.
Reese sentenced Nolan to all but four days of the 90 days prosecutors had sought for violating the protective order Nolan's mother had obtained last year, and another 30 days - the maximum - for abducting a relative within the state.
Nolan has spent 61 days in detention.
Nolan still faces charges in Howard County and four other jurisdictions across the state, most of them for theft and obtaining fraudulent prescriptions. Her mother said Nolan has been in and out of treatment for addiction to prescription drugs for years.
Nolan said she is currently attending Narcotics Anonymous.
Pontell called Reese's sentence "fair and appropriate under the circumstances."