Columbia teen pleads guilty in assault of taxi driver

By Stan Rappaport, srappaport@tribune.com

5:30 PM EDT, September 6, 2013


A third member of a group of teenagers charged in connection with the assault of a Columbia taxi driver pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to commit robbery before Howard County Circuit Court Judge Richard Bernhardt.

Chilly Ofosusafori, 17, originally had faced one count of second-degree attempted murder, two armed robbery counts, two robbery counts and four counts of assault in connection with the incident. He will be sentenced on Oct. 11.

Four Columbia teenagers, all students at Oakland Mills High School at the time of the March assault, were charged.

On Aug. 20, Johnam Perez-Rivera, 16, pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery and one count of first-degree assault and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. Khalid Khahiem Woods, 19, pleaded guilty on Aug. 8 to armed robbery and conspiracy to commit first-degree assault, and will be sentenced Nov. 15.

The trial date for Woody Rousseau, 17, is for Sept. 25. He is charged with one count of second-degree attempted murder, two armed robbery counts, two robbery counts and four counts of assault.

According to state's attorney spokesman Wayne Kirwan, Assistant State's Attorney Joanna Miller told the court Friday that the Columbia Flyer cab driver felt suspicious of the four youths he picked up the evening of March 1, and requested a $10 fare upfront. They wanted to be taken to the Sewell's Orchard neighborhood in Columbia, but could not provide an address.  

Once the taxi arrived in the Sewell's Orchard neighborhood, the driver felt a yellow karate belt around his neck, being pulled from behind to choke him. A passenger in the front seat pulled out a handgun and threatened to kill the driver, who sped off and crashed into a tree, according to Miller. The weapon was a BB gun, according to Howard County Police. Miller told the court that Ofosusafori was in the right rear passenger seat and that he attempted to open the rear passenger door as the robbery began to unfold.