ELKTON — A man who tried to rape his neighbor last summer inside her Cecil County home — as she was getting lemonade after inviting him onto her screened-in porch — is facing up to 30 years in prison in the wake of a plea deal that he accepted, according to Cecil County Circuit Court records.
The defendant, Donald Lee Todd, 43, pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree rape, which is a felony that carries a maximum 20-year sentence. Todd also pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, court records show.
Todd entered his guilty pleas Tuesday, as part of plea agreement negotiated by Deputy State’s Attorney Patricia Fitzgerald and Todd’s defense lawyer, William C. Brennan Jr., who is with a law firm in Greenbelt.
Cecil County Circuit Court Administrative Judge Keith A. Baynes accepted Todd’s guilty pleas and then scheduled sentencing for April 7. Todd has remained jailed without bond since his arrest in July.
As part of the plea bargain, prosecutors will drop 10 remaining charges against Todd, including first-degree rape, home invasion and false imprisonment.
The incident started shortly before midnight on July 25, when the 56-year-old woman saw Todd standing in his driveway outside his residence and invited him onto her screened-in porch, which is attached to her home, according to court records. Todd is identified as the victim’s “direct adjacent neighbor” in court documents.
When the woman went inside her house to get a glass of lemonade, Todd left the porch, too, and followed behind her, police reported.
Todd then grabbed the woman from behind, forced her onto a couch, pulled down her pants and underwear, took off his pants and underwear and attempted to rape her, police said. All the while, police added, the woman tried to push Todd away and yelled numerous times for him to stop.
The woman’s 56-year-old housemate returned home during the attack, according to court records.
At first, after seeing Todd and the woman together on the couch, the housemate walked onto the porch to give them privacy, court records show.
Several seconds later, however, the housemate heard the victim yelling for Todd to stop, and she went back into the house to help the victim, according to court records.
Both women yelled at Todd, now standing, to leave the residence, but he would not do so at first, police said. Todd eventually left the house, but he immediately turned around and tried to reenter the residence to retrieve his cell phone and cigarettes, police added.
The women tried to push Todd away, as he attempted to force his way back into the residence, according to court records. At one point, Todd grabbed the attempted-rape victim’s housemate by the arm and punched her in the face, as she was trying to push him out the doorway, court records show.
Todd’s housemate heard the commotion — prompting him to come to his next-door neighbor’s porch, pull Todd away and lead him back to their adjacent residence, according to court records, which further indicate that Todd’s housemate is 82 years old.
The lead investigator, Sr. Deputy Jeffrey Wathne of the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office, took evidence photos of abrasions and other marks on the victim’s arms, in addition to her housemate’s face, where Todd had punched her, police said.
Wathne also photographed the couch and the clothing that Todd had forcibly removed from the victim, police added.
In addition, Wathne interviewed both women and Todd’s housemate, all of whom gave similar accounts concerning the portions of the incident that they witnessed, police reported. Todd’s housemate told investigators that he could hear the women screaming at Todd to get out of their house, as he was heading next door to bring Todd home, according to police.
Investigators arrested Todd at his residence shortly after the incident, court records show.
During a police interview some three and a half hours after the incident, Todd maintained that he and his neighbor had consensual sex after she had invited him over to her home, according to court records, which also indicate that Todd denied punching the woman’s housemate in the face.