A Baltimore County judge on Wednesday sentenced a Baltimore man to 40 years in prison for raping a woman in the parking lot of Loch Raven High School.
Brandon Saunders, 31, of Northeast Baltimore, was convicted in November after a jury found him guilty of first- and second-degree rape, first- and second-degree assault, kidnapping and theft, according to online court records.
Circuit Judge Nancy Purpura handed down the 40-year prison sentence Wednesday, giving Saunders 30 years for the kidnapping to be served concurrent to the rape sentence. She highlighted the brutality of Saunders’ crime and his lack of remorse in her remarks at his sentencing, the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
In a statement, State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger described the crime as “reprehensible” and praised his prosecutors and Purpura for protecting residents from Saunders. “I particularly want to commend the victim of this crime for her strength and willingness to follow this case through to a just result,” Shellenberger said.
But the judge opted for a sentence above the sentencing guidelines for Saunders, his attorney Tyler Mann said. Mann asked Purpura to sentence Saunders to 30 years of incarceration with all but 10 years suspended, while the state recommended life in prison.
“We are disappointed by the jury’s verdict and even more disappointed by the judge’s sentence and we plan to appeal,” Mann said.
Shellenberger’s office said Saunders picked up a woman in Baltimore on July 28, 2019. She needed a ride to go to her father’s house but Saunders took her to the back of Loch Raven High in Baltimore County, where he assaulted her, threatened to kill her and raped her.
While Saunders went to retrieve a weapon from his trunk, prosecutors said, the woman escaped and fled barefoot through the woods to I-695 and flagged down a motorist for help.
Across the city line on Oct. 13, 2019, Baltimore Police were summoned to Harford Road after a woman flagged down a passing car. The woman said she had been raped, according to charging documents.
She told police she was waiting for a bus at Dundalk and Holabird avenues when a man offered her a ride. When she told him that he was heading in the wrong direction, he pulled a knife and threatened her, according to the charging documents.
The driver allegedly took her to Clifton Park, forced her to perform oral sex and then sexually assaulted her on the hood of his car, the documents detail. The woman told police she called for help and fled when her attacker took a break.
Detectives discovered a match between DNA recovered from the victim in Baltimore County and the woman allegedly assaulted in the city, Shellenberger’s office said. After arresting Saunders, police matched his DNA to that recovered from the woman he raped in Baltimore County.
In the city, Saunders is charged with rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment, using a deadly weapon and assault, according to online court records.
Mann, who is also representing Saunders on the pending charges in the city, said he could not comment on the ongoing case.
Saunders is scheduled to appear for a hearing in Baltimore City Circuit Court on March 1.