A 47-year-old Upperco man, convicted of assault with intent to murder for raping his stepgrandson, was sentenced to 90 years in prison in Carroll County Circuit Court yesterday.
The man, who is not being named to protect the privacy of his 9-year-old victim, was charged with attempted murder because he has HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
This is the first Maryland case in which a jury has convicted someone of attempted murder because he knew he had the human immunodeficiency virus when he sexually abused a child.
"What you have done to [this child] is horrific," said Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. before sentencing yesterday. "A civilized society cannot even comprehend what you have done. You have robbed this young man of his childhood and made him your sex slave."
Throughout the trial in December, prosecutors said the man -- who married the boy's grandmother weeks before the November 1994 abuse -- assaulted the child in the attic of the couple's home and in the man's van.
The strongest piece of Evidence in the case included a poem the man wrote while being held in the Carroll County Detention Center.
The poem, which describes sexual activity with the boy, is in the man's handwriting and includes details only known to the defendant and the child.
A trial on similar charges involving the boy's 4-year-old brother was postponed yesterday pending the outcome of the man's appeals.
"This is the ultimate betrayal," Assistant State's Attorney Tracy A. Gilmore said yesterday, adding that she is pleased with the sentence.
"The most aggravating thing about this case is that the child loved him," she said. "He was his friend. They played together."
Yesterday, Judge Beck gave the man 30 years in prison for attempted murder, two consecutive 20-year sentences for second-degree sexual offense and a consecutive 15-year sentence for child abuse. He also received a consecutive five-year sentence for sexual exploitation of the child's cousin, who witnessed the abuse.
In addition, the man received a concurrent 20-year sentence for second-degree child abuse, a concurrent 15-year sentence for child abuse and two concurrent 10-year sentences for perverted practice.
"You have forfeited all of your rights," Judge Beck said. "You deserve to spend the remainder of your days in prison."
Yet the prison time is not enough for the victim, Judge Beck said noted yesterday. On the victim impact statement, the boy wrote that the man should be given the electric chair as well as a lengthy prison term.
The man, however, continues to maintain his innocence and insists that his trial was unfair because evidence was not entered about studies claiming that HIV does not cause acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
Prosecutors pointed out yesterday that one witness for the state acknowledged the studies during trial.
"I'm not guilty, but I can't prove it," the man said. "The only motive I can think of is money. I'm missing $4,000 in merchandise."
During the trial, the man insisted that his former in-laws had stolen items he had in the Upperco home he shared with his wife. Prosecutors and the family, however, have maintained that the items were returned.
In addition to his time for the sex abuse convictions, the man has violated his probation in a 1981 arson case in which he was convicted of burning down a warehouse at Brethren Service Center in New Windsor.