A Crofton man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison as the result of a plea agreement in a case in which he was accused of carjacking a Macy's employee in the parking lot of Marley Station mall, leaving her with debilitating injuries.
Andre M. Ennis, 41, made no statements Tuesday as he entered an Alford plea, which allowed him to deny responsibility while acknowledging that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.
Among that evidence was Ennis' DNA, which prosecutors said was found outside and inside the victim's car, including on the steering wheel and on the straw of a cup, prosecutor Anastasia Prigge told Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge William Mulford II, according to a recording of the plea proceeding.
According to Prigge, Penny Gaffney, 61, went to her car outside the mall just after 6 p.m. on March 2. At 6:20 p.m, a co-worker found her lying on the pavement, bleeding profusely and barely conscious. Her 1997 Honda Accord was gone, and Gaffney's skull had been fractured.
Gaffney does not remember the attack, Prigge said. She lost much of her memory of events from weeks before and after the carjacking. For a time, she didn't recognize one of her sons, and forgot that her other son was married, Prigge said.
Gaffney spent five days at Maryland Shock Trauma Center and was in a coma during part of that time. Her hospitalization was followed by weeks of intensive physical, occupational, cognitive and emotional therapy. She continues to suffer physically and emotionally, said her husband, Brian Gaffney.
"The battle is still going on," Brian Gaffney told Mulford. "She can't walk down the street without possibly losing her balance and having somebody help her."
She continues to undergo therapy for speech problems and memory loss, Prigge said. She is also coping with emotional trauma and has lost her confidence, the prosecutor said.
Anne Arundel police found Gaffney's car in Baltimore about five hours after Gaffney was assaulted, not far from the Anne Arundel County line. Ennis' cellphone was inside it, said Kristin Fleckenstein, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office.
Police arrested Ennis on March 4 in Brooklyn Park.
Prigge said Ennis made conflicting statements to police, telling them at one point that "he was in a hotel room getting high that night but never went to Glen Burnie or Marley Station mall," Prigge said.
Under terms of the plea, five years of a 30-year sentence were suspended, and he will serve five years on probation after he leaves prison.