Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Repeat felon sentenced to 2 decades in prison for pulling over, raping woman

A Frederick, MD native was sentenced to two decades in prison Wednesday, June 23 for raping a woman on her way to her cleaning job. His April trial on charges of  charges of second-degree rape, fourth-degree sexual offense, robbery, theft, false imprisonment and impersonating an officer ended after one of the jurors was unable to continue deliberations. Michael Allen Barnwell, 37, plead guilty in Washington County, MD circuit court to a charge of 2nd degree sex offense and was immediately sentenced to the 20 year term. Judge Daniel P. Dwyer presided over the sentencing and trial.

The sexual assault took place Feb. 23, 2009. Barnwell, driving a SUV, pulled up next to the woman at a traffic light in Hagerstown, MD at 4 AM. Barnwell flashed a badge, said he was a police officer and ordered her to pull over into a parking lot ordered her into his vehicle, where he made her peform oral sex and stole $100. After that, Barnwell raped her.

The woman was able to remember three numbers from the license plate of the vehicle, according to trial testimony. Hagerstown Police Detective Christopher Kayser testified at the trial that he attempted to identify the vehicle from those numbers and images captured on video surveillance cameras at the intersection where the assault began.

Barnwell was stopped in downtown Hagerstown on the morning of April 4, 2009, driving a Pontiac Torrent registered to his girlfriend, Kayser testified at the trial. As a result of an incident preceding the stop, he was charged with second-degree assault and indecent exposure, according to District Court records. He pleaded guilty to the second-degree assault charge and was sentenced to three years in prison, court records said.

According to Assistant State’s Attorney Gina Cirincion, the victim "is a woman from a foreign country where a crime of this kind is often blamed on the woman.” She did not initially report the crime and had to be coaxed into doing so by her grown daughter.  Judge Daniel P. Dwyer told Barnwell that he would have received a much stiffer sentence than 20 years if he had been convicted at trial. Barnwell is serving 8 years for a probation violation on a drug conviction in addition to the other sentences.

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