DNA hit prompts Glen Burnie man to plead guilty to 2003 rape

Case jump-started by DNA hit in Wisconsin

September 28, 2010|By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun

She spent years wishing that her rapist had made good on his threat to kill her, enduring anxiety attacks, and trying to put the sexual assault that took place when she was 13 years old behind her.

And then, she said in court Tuesday, after seven years, just as she started to be happy again, the call came: Her attacker had been identified through a DNA database. He was arrested in March, and she was forced to relive the memories, again worrying for her life.

In May, she said, Anne Arundel County police confirmed her fears, telling her that the man who'd attacked her was now trying to have her killed. Weeks later, she was told to pack her bags, quit her job. Officers began escorting her to her summer classes.

On Tuesday, Donnell Thomas Bellamy, 31, a former Glen Burnie resident who had moved to Appleton, Wis., pleaded guilty before Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Paul A. Hackner to first-degree rape.

The negotiated plea included a 25-year prison sentence followed by five years of supervised probation, with the provision that if he violates the terms, he could be jailed for life.

Bellamy apologized in court. "I acted reckless. I acted totally wrong," he said.

Police have told the now 21-year-old victim, who is not being named by The Baltimore Sun, that they do not believe she remains in danger. But the fear has not left her, the woman said in a victim impact statement to Hackner.

"Every morning I wake up, wondering if it is going to be my last day," she said in court, later explaining, "Even with Bellamy in prison I will fear he will still hurt me, or that I will cross paths with another man as evil as Bellamy."

When she was 13, she had an argument with her father and sneaked out of his home in Severn. She walked in the dark to a friend's house, but there was no response to her knocks on the window. As she walked home after splitting from friends around 12:30 a.m. July 2, she was stopped "two minutes" from her father's house by a man in dark car, said Assistant State's Attorney Kathleen Rogers.

He told her if she didn't get in, he would kill her, the prosecutor said. He drove her to a secluded area, and forced her to comply with his orders by threatening her life and strangling her, she said. He raped her, ordering her to compliment him, then dropped her off near a pizza restaurant, Rogers said. She ran to a friend's house, where his mother called police, Rogers said.

In her statement, the woman said she felt repeatedly violated — by the rapist, by the rape exam that extracted her attacker's DNA, and by investigators who she said "treated me more like a criminal than a victim."

According to court records, the assault took place a day after Bellamy's year of probation ended. An Anne Arundel County District Court judge had ordered the probation after Bellamy was found guilty of trespassing at a school. His record includes other convictions for minor crimes.

But in Wisconsin, Bellamy was charged with selling drugs in 2008, a felony, and was required to give a DNA sample when convicted in 2009.

Anne Arundel County police submit samples of genetic material recovered from cold cases for comparison to known samples in state and federal databases in hopes of finding a match, and got a "hit" this year. In March, detectives went to Wisconsin and arrested Bellamy.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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