Woman describes night of attack She testifies that she feared she would die at hands of Metheny

Describing him as a man "you could see the evil in," the victim of an alleged attack by Joseph R. Metheny, a suspected serial killer, said in court testimony yesterday that she feared she was going to die on a night their friendship went sour and he demanded sex.

"Whatever Tiny wanted to do that night, he was going to do," said a tearful and shaking Rita Kemper, calling Metheny by his nickname.


"He told me I could scream as loud as I wanted to," Kemper said. "I knew that he wasn't going to let me out of there alive. I wasn't letting this man take my life from me without a fight."

Metheny went on trial Wednesday in Baltimore Circuit Court on charges that he assaulted, kidnapped, and attempted to rape and murder Kemper, 37, early Dec. 8. The case involving Kemper is a prelude to murder charges that Metheny will face next month.


Police say Metheny told them he killed as many as 10 people. The state is seeking the death penalty for the killings of two women whose bodies were found near his home -- a trailer in the 3200 block of James St. near Washington Boulevard in Southwest Baltimore.

That also was the site of the alleged attack on Kemper.

Hoping to protect their client, Metheny's lawyers urged Judge John N. Prevas to block references to the murder charges from entering the trial. In particular, the lawyers did not want admitted a statement Kemper made to police.

In that statement, Kemper alleges that Metheny told her, "I'm going to kill you and bury you in the woods with the other girls."

Prevas said he believes that prosecutors' argument that the statement could give more support to their argument that Metheny intended to kill Kemper. But the judge ruled the information could prejudice a jury against the accused.

"To tag somebody with the label of a killer is extremely explosive," Prevas told the lawyers after sending the jury out of the courtroom to discuss the issue.

Kemper said she was at Metheny's trailer early Dec. 8 to share drugs. The two had built a friendship last fall, using cocaine together, but did not have a sexual relationship, she said.

While in the trailer, Kemper said Metheny struck her twice and ordered her to take her pants off. She said she escaped through the trailer's door, but Metheny chased her, choked her and dragged her back.


He then pulled her pants off in the trailer before she escaped again through a window and fled for help, she said.

Pub Date: 11/07/97