Rape of teen yields two life terms

The Baltimore Sun

Calling him a "wolf in sheep's clothing," an Anne Arundel County judge sentenced a Baltimore man yesterday to two consecutive life terms in prison for raping a Russian teenager, who was participating in a work exchange program, and leaving her for dead.

Circuit Court Judge Paul A. Hackner said the chorus of family and friends praising 40-year-old Kelroy Williamson's character at yesterday's hearing made his crime all the more horrifying. He said he handed down the maximum sentence to keep Williamson off the streets for the rest of his life.

"To his friends and family, he's a hardworking family man," Hackner said. "But he's out there assaulting women when they're not watching. I feel as strongly as I can that he should never walk in public again - he is a person who will commit more crimes."

The Sept. 21, 2002, attack went unsolved for four years, until county police matched Williamson's DNA from a 1994 rape to DNA left at the scene. A jury took about three hours at his December trial to convict him.

The trial required the victim, now 24, to return from Russia to the county where prosecutor Kathleen E. Rogers said she "saw the worst our country had to offer."

She was living in Pioneer City and making her daily 5 a.m. trek to work at a McDonald's when she encountered Williamson leaning against a guardrail and said hello to him. He grabbed her and pulled her deep into a wooded area, where he tied her up with her backpack and beat and sexually assaulted her. He then choked her and left her there, prosecutors said.

The victim returned to Russia about two weeks later, telling her family she had been involved in a car accident so they would not be upset. The Sun does not name victims of sexual assault.

Several people spoke on behalf of Williamson, known as "Kelly," describing him as a caring brother and father. His wife, Jean Williamson, said he helped her get over a previous abusive relationship and helped care for her son like his own. Together, they have a 4-year-old daughter.

Rogers said that such support coupled with his continued crimes showed Williamson lacked a reforming spirit. His criminal record includes a 1992 false-imprisonment and battery conviction, a 1994 rape charge that resulted in a guilty plea for battery and a 1999 battery conviction.

"He has had support his entire life ... but yet here he is today, and here he has been for the past 20 years," Rogers said, calling it a case that "cries out for the maximum sentence."

But defense attorney William Davis said the positive attributes had to be a consideration. Williamson's crimes and his appearance to those who cared about him "don't seem to make sense, they don't comport. But they do exist," Davis said. "He is not void of being a good father and a good brother."

Prosecutors said they were "thrilled" at the sentence, having sought the maximum despite guidelines that called for 50 to 80 years.

Williamson's family members said they were outraged by the sentence and believe he is innocent.

Davis said an appeal was in the works. At trial, the defense argued that the DNA technician omitted controlled samples from the evidence samples during her testing and failed to allow a peer review process on her results to be conducted, processes that he said led to "invalid results."

Justin.fenton@baltsun.com

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