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HoCo Judge Sentences Man to 50 Years for Kidnapping, Rape

Prosecutors described the incident as a 'horror story,' the Howard County State's Attorney's Office reported.

HoCo Judge Sentences Man to 50 Years for Kidnapping, Rape

At a recent hearing on a rape charge related to a kidnapping in Marriottsville, there was a dramatic turn of events, according to a report from the Howard County State's Attorney's Office.

Joseph Dwayne Caudill, of the 3100 block of Cape Hill Court in Hampstead, was convicted of second-degree assault and kidnapping in connection with an August 2012 incident involving his former girlfriend in Marriottsville, the report stated. However, after a five-day trial in May 2013, the jury deadlocked on a rape charge, according to the state's attorney.

After the state filed for a retrial on the rape charge, Caudill, 40, agreed in December to enter a plea agreement; but he rescinded his decision in Howard County Circuit Court on April 4, the report stated.

"I made a grave error in accepting the plea deal," Caudill said, reading from a written statement, in which he said the incident involved "consensual sexual intercourse within the context of our masochistic relationship."

Lawyers for the state of Maryland described what led to the charges as a "horror story" during the trial last May, according to the report.

Caudill's former girlfriend told Howard County police, who responded to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center at 11:19 p.m. on Aug. 15, that Caudill used a stolen key to enter her Marriottsville home, then strangled her with her bathrobe belt before beating and raping her, the state's attorney reported.

She ran to to a neighbor’s vacant home and Caudill chased her, substantiated by a recording from the neighbor's video surveillance system that was played during the 2013 trial, the report stated. Another neighbor testified that she heard screaming that evening, according to the report.

The victim was unable to attend Caudill's sentencing hearing on Friday, according to the report, and Howard County Assistant State's Attorney Susan Weinstein said the following on her behalf: "This has been an experience that truly has destroyed her…(making her) emotionally and physically ill."

Judge Richard S. Bernhardt denied Caudill's motion to withdraw his plea and sentenced the man to 30 years in prison for kidnapping and 20 years for rape, the report stated.

Caudill had previously agreed to enter an " Alford plea" with regards to the rape charge, meaning he would plead guilty as part of an agreement without actually admitting guilt, according to the report. 

Bernhardt merged the second-degree assault and kidnapping verdicts, for the purposes of sentencing, resulting in a 30-year sentence, the report stated; and he sentenced Caudill to 20 years (to be served concurrent with the 30-year sentence) for second-degree rape.

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