A 33-year-old Baltimore man was acquitted yesterday on charges of kidnapping his former girlfriend and holding her for seven hours in August after she broke off their relationship.
Paul A. Fisher of the 1500 block of DeSoto Road was found not guilty by a jury of seven women and five men on charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment and assault and battery after a three-day trial.
After jurors left the room, Circuit Judge Robert H. Heller Jr. took the unusual step of warning Mr. Fisher -- who faces charges of kidnapping the same victim in Baltimore City and Baltimore County -- not to interpret the verdict as a finding of total innocence.
"I wouldn't walk out of here thinking it's a complete case of being not guilty. I think it's not guilty because it's not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt," Judge Heller said. "In my opinion, you're guilty of something. I won't get into what it is, but don't think that everyone is convinced of your innocence."
Mr. Fisher remained in the Anne Arundel County Detention Center yesterday on the Baltimore City and Baltimore County charges.
The girlfriend, Kelly Lynn Hansen, said she has stayed in shelters and lived in fear of Mr. Fisher since she broke off their four-year relationship Aug. 17, 1992.
Mr. Fisher's attorney, Forrest E. Mays, denied his client had kidnapped or injured Ms. Hansen. He said she is a "vindictive woman" out to get his client for past wrongs.
Mr. Fisher was charged in Anne Arundel County based on an incident that reportedly began about 10 a.m. Aug. 18, 1992.
Assistant State's Attorney William C. Mulford II said Ms. Hansen, who had a child by Mr. Fisher, had recently broken up with him and was seeing his 22-year-old nephew, Ron Fisher.
Jurors were told the defendant arrived at a Hardee's on Ritchie Highway in Brooklyn Park, where Ms. Hansen was about to eat with her two children, and ordered her to get inside the car.
When Paul Fisher got out, Ron Fisher stepped on the accelerator and the defendant grabbed onto the car, which crashed into a utility pole, according to testimony. The crash occurred as Ron Fisher allegedly was being choked by the defendant, Mr. Mulford said.
The defendant then allegedly grabbed Ms. Hansen and her 4-year-old daughter, Melissa Sigley, and fled on foot across Ritchie Highway to the home of Richard Wright, on nearby Pope Street. Mr. Wright, who was unacquainted with the trio, let Mr. Fisher use his telephone to call a friend, who picked them up and took Mr. Fisher, Ms. Hansen and her daughter to a house in Pasadena.
According to Ms. Hansen's testimony, she remained locked in a bedroom at the house in Pasadena for seven hours until she was finally allowed to call her mother and was taken home by Mr. Fisher.
Jurors said afterward they were troubled by the testimony, but there was insufficient evidence to convince them beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. Hansen was kidnapped.