A 22-year-old Baltimore County woman was locked for nearly nine months inside a Reisterstown apartment bathroom, where she was beaten and starved. On Tuesday, she sat quietly in the corner of a courtroom and listened as her captors were sentenced.
Germaine A. Smith-Bey, 31, and, Kimberly Stacy King, 39, were sentenced in Baltimore County Circuit Court for their role in keeping the woman, now 25, tied up for months in their apartment on Brookebury Drive, where she became emaciated and suffered injuries that covered her body. During that time, police said, the couple collected her monthly disability payments over several months.
Judge S. Ann Brobst sentenced Smith-Bey to 50 years' imprisonment for false imprisonment, assault and attempted rape. King, who was found guilty of false imprisonment, assault, and abuse and physical injury to a vulnerable adult, was sentenced to 40 years' imprisonment.
When the couple took the woman to Greater Baltimore Medical Center on Aug. 25, 2010, she weighed 86 pounds, suffered from a severe staph infection, and had been blinded in her right eye where she was repeatedly punched, according to prosecutors. She also had several fractured ribs, cuts, bruises and bedsores, prosecutors said.
At the apartment, Smith-Bey tied the woman's hands and legs, beat her, cut her and scalded her with hot water, prosecutors said. King, they said, knew of the abuse but did nothing to stop it and told their victim she was not allowed to leave the house. The Baltimore Sun generally doesn't name victims of sexual abuse.
King told a different story to Brobst, saying she took in the woman, who was trying to escape an abusive relationship. King said she took care of her, bought things for her child and fed her well. She said she is known for her cooking — especially spaghetti and steaks.
"I'm a good person," she said.
But Brobst responded before her sentencing: "All it would have taken was one person to stop it. … I reject all of your remarks of what a good person you are."
She gave similar responses to testimony by Smith-Bey, who, along with several family members, spoke of his troubles after suffering sexual abuse as a child. They also spoke about a history of mental illnesses in the family, which also afflicted him.
Brobst told the family: "I'm sorry for your loss as well. I feel your pain."
However, she reiterated that "it takes one person to say no."
At least twice, the victim said, Smith-Bey attempted to have sex with her, prosecutors said. Semen stains with Smith-Bey's DNA were found on the sweat shirt the victim wore to the hospital.
Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger, who prosecuted the case, said, "I think the judge's comments and sentencing were perfect considering the two defendants are responsible for all of her injuries."
The victim, along with her boyfriend and infant son, had gone to stay with Smith-Bey and King, and King's two children, prosecutors said. But when the victim's boyfriend was kicked out, the abuse began, prosecutors said. She and her son remained, though she was not allowed to hold him.
When the couple left to take a two-week vacation in Florida, they asked a third defendant, Robert Spruill, to take care of their pets and the victim, according to prosecutors. Spruill was told to keep the victim locked in the bathroom, prosecutors said.
Smith-Bey called Spruill in August 2010, when he urged her to take the victim to the hospital. On the way to the hospital, King made up a story that she and Spruill picked up the victim on Greenmount Avenue, near 25th Street, prosecutors said. When they took city police to the area, however, footage from a nearby surveillance showed that the victim was never at that location.
Spruill was found guilty of false imprisonment in August 2011 and sentenced to one year and six months' imprisonment, according to court records.
Shellenberger said he took up the case because of its "particularly heinous" nature. "It was a very fair outcome," he said.
Due to an error in online court records, earlier versions of this story provided an incorrect sentence for Kimberly Stacy King. She was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun