Rodgers Forge resident convicted of robbing man in wheelchair


A Rodgers Forge man who robbed a Towson man confined to a wheelchair was convicted yesterday of robbery, assault, battery and theft, and could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Joseph C. Colwill, 22, of Murdock Road was found guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court of grabbing a wallet containing about $60 from the neck of John Edward Nolan, 38.

Nolan, who has cerebral palsy and limited use of one hand, was assaulted, struck and insulted by Colwill while on York Road in central Towson on Jan. 21.

"The verdict is guilty," Circuit Judge Thomas J. Bollinger said yesterday, ordering that Colwill and everyone he knows have no contact with Nolan until Colwill is sentenced Feb. 4.

He added that Nolan's testimony alone -- brief sentences he typed into a computer with a pointer connected to his helmet -- was enough to find Colwill guilty.

Nolan testified that an assailant he had seen once before commandeered his electric wheelchair when he was heading home early in the morning after seeing a movie and going to a pool hall. The assailant punched him twice and called him a "useless parasite" during the robbery, Nolan told police.

Nolan also testified that in April he saw the assailant in Borders Books & Music in Towson. Nolan alerted staff members, who called police, according to Baltimore County Assistant State's Attorney Mickey J. Norman, who prosecuted.

Colwill was found within an hour playing video games in a pool hall across the street, according to his lawyer, David B. Irwin, who said yesterday that his client showed he had nothing to hide because he did not flee the area.

"He was shocked and saddened by the verdict," said Irwin. "He has professed his innocence to me from the get-go."

After court yesterday, Nolan said through an aide that he was "pleased" with the outcome of the trial.

Pub Date: 12/04/96

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