Elkridge man convicted of rape hangs himself


A 21-year-old Elkridge man who was convicted of one rape and charged with six other sexual attacks hanged himself yesterday at the Baltimore County Detention Center.

Richard Y. Gregory of the 7300 block of Washington Boulevard had been convicted last week in Baltimore County Circuit Court of raping a Perry Hall waitress, who was abducted at knifepoint.

He also faced trials on charges of attacking five other women and a 16-year-old girl. The attacks spanned a six-month period and took place in Baltimore, Howard and Prince George's counties and in Contra Costa, Calif., where Gregory was arrested, police said.

Detention officials found Gregory about 5 a.m. yesterday as the inmates were being fed breakfast, said James M. Dean, administrator of the Detention Center.

County police said Gregory had been locked into his single cell at 11 p.m. Sunday and checked on shortly after midnight.

A corrections officer who found Gregory hours later reported that he was "obviously deceased" and apparently had ripped apart a sheet, tied the strips together and hanged himself from a sprinkler head on the wall. Police said they confiscated two letters from the cell, but their contents were not released.

Mr. Dean said Gregory had been at the jail since March 27 and had shown no signs of psychiatric distress.

"He's never even been down to our sick call," Mr. Dean said. "We had no prompting or any advance notice of any kind."

Gregory's sentencing had been scheduled for Nov. 5. He faced life in prison plus 43 years after Circuit Judge Dana M. Levitz convicted him of putting a knife to the throat of a 29-year-old waitress on the night of Feb. 4, forcing her into his truck and driving her to a secluded spot, where he raped her.

A former pizza delivery man, Gregory was arrested March 5 in Contra Costa, where he had fled after police linked him to the waitress' rape. Police were led to Gregory by a 16-year-old girl's description of a man who tried to force her into his van on Mayfair Road on Feb. 26, prosecutors said at the trial.

Gregory's lawyer, Larry Polen, said he had no indication that Gregory was contemplating suicide or that he had been treated unfairly at the jail.

Scott D. Shellenberger, an assistant state's attorney, said that Judge Levitz had ordered a pre-sentence investigation on Gregory but that a psychiatric report had not been specified.

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