Two young men were convicted Tuesday of sex offenses after prosecutors say they carjacked two women leaving the Alewife bar in downtown Baltimore and forced them at gunpoint to perform oral sex.
Quamontae Johnson and Levi Bonds were 17 and 18 years old, respectively, that summer night in 2016. They also forced the women to call a husband, boss and stepfather for $10,000 in ransom money, prosecutors say.
A two-week trial was to begin Tuesday in Baltimore Circuit Court, but Johnson pleaded guilty to sex offenses. The 18-year-old faces 35 to 45 years in prison.
Bonds, however, made an Alford plea to sex offenses. This means he maintains his innocence while conceding that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict. Assistant State’s Attorney Stacie Sawyer told the court Bonds made a full confession.
The 20-year-old also faces 35 to 45 years in prison. Attorneys for the co-defendants declined to discuss the case.
Both young men had faced a host of charges, including kidnapping, armed robbery and assault, before pleading to the sex offenses.
They said little in court, quietly answering Judge Yolanda Tanner with “yes” and “no.” She asked them to speak up.
Sawyer read an account of the night, one which the young men did not dispute. As she read, Johnson cried.
In August 2016, the women were walking from Alewife to their parked car when the gunmen approached. They demanded the car keys, but noticed the car had a stick shift and ordered the women to drive them away. Johnson hit the driver in her face with a black revolver. He held the gun to her temple and threatened to kill her while the other woman watched.
They drove to West Baltimore and parked in the Franklin Square neighborhood. The teens ordered the women to sit on the curb while they rummaged through their purses. They also ordered the women to call their families, prosecutors say, and request $10,000 in ransom money to be delivered to a flowerpot.
Breaking News Alerts Newsletter
As it happens
Get updates on the coronavirus pandemic and other news as it happens with our free breaking news email alerts.
They took the women’s debit cards and demanded their pin numbers. Prosecutors say Bonds left to make the ATM withdrawals then returned.
Then the teens ordered the women to undress, prosecutors say, and forced them to perform oral sex on them.
When the police called back on one woman’s cellphone, the teens ran away, Sawyer said.
Johnson was arrested about a week later at his home in Franklin Square. Police had recovered fingerprints from the women’s cellphones and video from the ATM machines. Bonds turned himself in two days later.
Before they agreed to the plea deals, the young men had faced as much as life in prison if convicted of all charges. Afterward, Sawyer thanked Johnson for admitting his guilt and not forcing the women to relive their horrors at trial.