Rapist is given 25-year term; Man who pleaded guilty to attack avoids life sentence; His family is relieved


A 25-year sentence for the man who raped and beat a Shady Side woman so viciously that her face is permanently scarred was seen as good news by his relatives, who were relieved that he did not get a life sentence.

About 30 relatives wept and thanked God when Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Lawrence H. Rushworth sentenced Andre Terrill Tyler, then held hands and prayed outside the courtroom after the hearing yesterday.

"I know this is not the end. The Lord is not done with him," said the Rev. Brenda M. Cardwell, pastor of Pilgrimage Christian Church in Suitland, who baptized Tyler. "He can get out. There is another set of hands in this."

The sentence was the maximum recommended under state guidelines for someone with no criminal history, but it was substantially less than the life term Assistant State's Attorney Laura Kiessling wanted.

"We have no idea what caused him to do this. Do we really want him walking out among us?" she said. Under the parole system, Tyler could expect to serve at least half of the sentence.

Tyler, 21, of the 1500 block of Crowner Drive in Shady Side offered no explanation for why he attacked a 39-year-old woman he did not know. He told police he sometimes had a bad temper. In April, he pleaded guilty to first-degree rape, and in court yesterday, he apologized to the victim.

"It was the wrong spirit dealing with him. He had that wrong spirit. We are asking God to create a new spirit within him," said his grandmother Dorothy Foote.

Defense lawyer Charles L. Waechter said he thought Rushworth was fair. Waechter had asked for a sentence within the guidelines with part of the prison time suspended, and for the judge to show consideration because Tyler surrendered to police less than a day after the attack.

The victim said nothing in court but in a written statement said she has not slept through the night since the attack on Sept. 7, 1998. She keeps lights on in her home at all times, she wrote.

Tyler broke her nose and shattered her left cheekbone, and, despite reconstructive surgery, she remains in pain and has vision problems.

Tyler broke into the victim's home, waking her about 2 a.m., according to court records. He became increasingly violent as she tried to fight him off. She thought he would kill her and, terrified, dived out a second-story window to escape. Tyler pulled her back in, Kiessling said.

"He said, 'You're going to see my face for the rest of your life,' " Kiessling said. "And she does."

Pub Date: 9/23/99

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