Canton rapist gets 40 years after guilty pleas in two incidents

Vaughan sentenced for two rapes, has pending cases in Virginia

March 28, 2011|By Larry Carson, The Baltimore Sun

A 20-year-old man still facing sexual assault charges in two incidents in Virginia pleaded guilty Monday in Baltimore Circuit Court to two rapes in Canton and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Donald Vaughan, who had been allowed by juvenile probation authorities supervising him in Virginia to travel to Baltimore for a holiday visit with family in December 2009, pleaded guilty to first-degree rape and assault and was sentenced to life in prison with all but 40 years suspended by Judge Charles J. Peters.

Vaughan was convicted of forcing his way into the home of a 26-year-old Canton woman Dec.19, 2009. He had shoveled snow at a Kenwood Avenue home earlier, but returned to a side door, burst in, grabbed a kitchen knife, sexually assaulted the woman in an upstairs bedroom and cut her neck before fleeing with cash, a bank card and two cellphones. Using her computer, the victim emailed a friend, who called 911. Police arrived to find her using a towel to try to stanch the flow of blood from a 5-inch gash.

Police were able to trace one of the cellphones to a house in the 800 block of N. Linwood Ave., where they found Vaughan. According to police, he related details of the sexual assault for detectives. He also pleaded guilty Monday to sexual assault charges after forcing his way into a home on Dillon Street two years earlier, Jan. 1, 2007.

Vaughan had been in juvenile custody in Maryland until he was released in September 2009 to live with family in Kilmarnock, Va., where he was under supervision of Virginia juvenile authorities. A local newspaper reported that Vaughan had been under surveillance by town police as a suspect in two post-Thanksgiving rapes in the town of 1,400 people.

"It was the biggest thing ever," Kilmarnock Town Manager Tm Saunders said about the uproar over the rape of a woman in her late 60s and another in her 30s three days apart on the same street. Vaughan had been seen walking near the scene of one rape at 4 a.m. the day of the crime.

"It's far and away the worst," Saunders added. "It was just very traumatic. There's a lot of widows in town."

Virginia authorities were unclear why he had been allowed to leave the area while Kilmarnock police were investigating him for rape. According to accounts at the time the town police chief, Michael Bedell, said officers had informed the local probation agent that Vaughan was being watched, but Vaughan was allowed to go on the visit to Baltimore anyway.

In addition, Maryland authorities said they had not been told that Vaughan was headed back, despite probation-supervision agreements between the two states that call for such notification.

larry.carson@baltsun.com

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