With bullets still lodged in her chest, Leah G. Littlefield told a Baltimore County judge yesterday that the wounds inflicted by her ex-boyfriend in May -- in the presence of a police officer -- created pain that "no adjectives" can describe.
Baltimore County Circuit Judge John G. Turnbull II responded by sentencing Illinois Smith, 26, to 40 years in prison for attempting to murder Littlefield and for shooting at Officer Brian K. Brennan, who had pulled Smith's car over when he saw it swerve on North Rolling Road in Woodlawn.
Smith, whose last known address was the 7700 block of McClean Blvd. in northeast Baltimore County, pleaded guilty in November to attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault and illegal use of a handgun.
He admitted to forcing Littlefield into his car at gunpoint May 6 and driving her around the county for more than an hour. On North Rolling Road, Littlefield grabbed the steering wheel, forcing the car into the path of an oncoming police car in an effort to get the officer's attention. After the two cars came to a stop, Smith shot Littlefield four times, then fired at Brennan, according to prosecutors.
Littlefield said the shooting took place after she tried to break up with Smith.
Yesterday, she told the judge that being shot "four times with a .45-caliber gun at point-blank range" has delayed her graduation from Morgan State University, her induction as a second lieutenant in the Army and her plans to go to medical school. She also said she is on leave from her job as an emergency medical technician but has been denied disability compensation.
She attends physical therapy three times a week and is being treated by a psychiatrist for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Assistant State's Attorney Marsha Russell asked the judge to sentence Smith to life in prison.
At yesterday's hearing, Smith apologized to Littlefield, saying, "I've been locked up for nine months now and am trying to figure out what went wrong."
His lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Stewart Lyons, asked the judge for a 15-year sentence, noting that Smith had no prior criminal record and no problems with alcohol or drugs.
Several of Smith's relatives, including his mother, Angela Smith, wept as Turnbull announced the sentence.