A Baltimore man convicted of assaulting and raping a 59-year-old woman at gunpoint in 2007 in her Roland Park home, terrorizing that community, was sentenced to life plus 93 years in prison Friday.
"The only appropriate sentence [for the rape] is life," said Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge John A. Howard, who quoted from the opening of a "Law & Order" television series about sexual crimes being "especially heinous."
"If there's a case that demonstrates the truth of that statement," he said, "it is this case."
A jury found Roger L. Ervin, 48, of the 3100 block of Oakley Ave. guilty on nine counts in December, including first-degree rape, first-degree assault, armed robbery and first-degree burglary for forcing his way into the woman's home Aug. 23, 2007, as she prepared her dinner and unpacked groceries.
He threw her against her stairs, put her into a half-nelson headlock and broke two of her vertebrae, temporarily paralyzing her before he sexually brutalized the woman, who asked that he be put away for the rest of his life so he couldn't "inflict such brutality" on anyone else.
"My family was traumatized," the woman said, reading from a prepared statement. The Baltimore Sun does not name victims of sexual crimes.
She was hospitalized, went through various surgeries and had to move in with a son for five months while she recuperated. She has permanent numbness in her hands and feet from her injuries and still sees a therapist to deal with the "horrible nightmare."
"I went from feeling vital and healthy ... to a totally dependent woman," she said.
"The facts of this case are egregious," said Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer McAllister, adding that a life term for Ervin was the only way to "ensure public safety." Ervin has a previous burglary conviction on his record from 1985. He was released from that sentence in 2003.
His attorney, Margaret Mead, had first argued for a new trial, then asked for a life sentence with all but 15 or 20 years suspended, after the judge denied the first request.
"Mr. Ervin is very sorry about what happened to [the victim], but he maintains his innocence," Mead said.
Ervin addressed the court, saying he was a faithful Muslim who had never even entertained the idea of hurting someone. He said he had a $70,000-a-year job and no reason to rob the woman of some pocket change and electronics.
"I haven't done anything to anyone in 25 years," he said. "I'm telling you, I would never rape, beat no woman."
Howard said the evidence showed otherwise. After the victim picked out an innocent man from a photo array, Ervin was identified through DNA. He also matched a sketch drawn from the victim's description.
"I was astonished by the sketch," Howard said. "To my eyes, the sketch was you."
Thirty-five years of the sentence are to be run consecutively to the life term; the rest is concurrent.