Fort Washington man found guilty in Bethesda home invasion -- Gazette.Net


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This story was updated at 12:55 p.m. Friday, April 19, 2013

Kevin Darnell Ray had a plan the day he broke into a home in Bethesda on a cold morning in early 2012, prosecutors said in court Thursday, shortly before a jury convicted him of burglary, sexual assault, false imprisonment, and other charges.

The 34-year-old Fort Washington man forced the homeowner, Yasmin Rowe, her 14-years-old son and the maid upstairs. He tied up Rowe and her son. He demanded credit cards, and threatened to shoot all three of them if the personal identification number didn’t work. He also took car keys and cell phones.

“He’s a planner.... It was almost like a checklist,” said Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Peter Feeney with a snap of his fingers, during closing arguments.

On Thursday, after just over an hour and a half of deliberations, a jury found Ray guilty of 14 counts of kidnapping, sexual assault, burglary, armed robbery and other charges in the home invasion, in which “the sanctity of the home was violated in the worst possible way,” Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Eric Nee said during the trial.

Ray is scheduled to be sentenced June 20. Prosecutors say he likely will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Prosecutors say Ray was behind a spree of home invasions, assaults and robberies that took place in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in early January 2012. He is also a suspect in a Washington, D.C., homicide, and will be tried for a bank robbery that took place there, as well.

But Ray’s public defender, Ronald Gottlieb, countered, “There’s more to this than what prosecutors told you.”

“Mr. Ray didn’t do everything they’ve charged him with,” he told jurors, explaining that Ray came into possession of the cards shortly after the home invasion took place.

He also questioned the veracity of DNA evidence used against Ray.

Dressed in slacks, a purplish-blue dress shirt, and leather sneakers, Ray sat quietly during the proceedings, stroking his beard occasionally as he listened to the evidence against him. There were more than 20 witnesses during three days of testimony.

During the trial, jurors learned from Rowe that her maid had arrived on Jan. 11, 2012, at around 6:45 a.m.

The two chatted about the just-passed holidays. Then, the woman stepped out of Rowe’s split-level home on Bardon Road in North Bethesda to put a parking pass on her car’s windshield.

Moments later, Rowe heard a scream, she said, and saw a masked man holding a gun to her maid’s temple.

“He was saying he’s going to shoot her if I try anything,” Rowe said in court.

Ray herded them into one of the home’s bedrooms, then forced Rowe’s son, at gunpoint, to tie up his mother, but became infuriated after the boy purposely tied the knots loosely.

Then, he demanded her credit cards and the PIN, threatening to kill everyone if the number didn’t work, she said.

“[That was] mission accomplished, you would think, but then he does something beyond comprehension,” Feeney said, comparing Ray’s sexual assault against the maid “like an assault on your psyche.”

Ray used a white sweater to tie up the woman.

He used a gray, striped tie to blindfold her, then led her to the bathroom, where he sexually assaulted her while holding something sharp to her neck, the woman testified.

The woman, Rowe and her son laid still, until they heard Ray driving away in the maid’s 2005 Ford Expedition, about an hour after he invaded the home.

Surveillance footage captured him using the cards less than half an hour later in the Bethesda Metro Station, and then at L’Enfant Plaza.

When Ray was arrested in North Carolina days after the home invasion, authorities recovered a carry-on bag he used to take items from the home, Nee said. In the course of their investigation, they also found two guns, two knives, $9,000 in cash, and the keys to Rowe’s car and her maid’s car.

Shortly after the verdict, Rowe hugged prosecutors and supporters, before walking out of the courthouse.

The verdict was a relief, she told a supporter.

stjbarned-smith@gazette.net