Montgomery County police are searching for a 24-year-old convicted felon who allegedly abducted a county judge with whom he was romantically involved by forcing her into her BMW, yanking on her hair and screaming at her to drive him to Gaithersburg, according to court and police records.
The judge escaped by jumping out of the car, fending off the suspect and running into a grocery store to call 911, according to police. The suspect got back into the car, took off and drove one mile before crossing into oncoming traffic and crashing into another car, injuring two occupants and himself. He was taken to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda.
On Tuesday, the day after the incident, Circuit Court Judge Audrey Creighton, 53, sought a protective order against the alleged assailant, Rickley Joshua Senning, whom she said had lived in her home for three weeks in May and three months last year.
Senning has convictions for assault, burglary, auto theft and a firearms violation. In 2008, he was sentenced to five years for punching a handcuffed inmate at the Montgomery County jail and assaulting two corrections officers, according to court records. That same year, Creighton had represented Senning in a separate case when she was a county public defender.
Creighton has been a Circuit Court judge for a month, ascending to the position from the county’s District Court bench in April.
She was not on the bench Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, having already scheduled personal leave, court officials said. She has since been granted two additional weeks of leave, said Judge John W. Debelius III, the chief administrative judge in Montgomery. He declined to comment on the events of this week.
Creighton, who was scraped on her right hand during the incident, did not return telephone calls seeking comment. Since Monday night, she has spoken with patrol officers, detectives and court officials — at one point saying her relationship with Senning was platonic and at another stating they were intimate partners, according to the police and court records.
For police, the case began about 9:40 p.m. Monday, when they were called for a reported assault outside the Harris Teeter grocery store along Darnestown Road, west of Gaithersburg. There, they met Creighton. According to an incident report written by patrol officer John Gloss, she told them the following:
Senning had been temporarily staying in the basement of her home in the Dickerson area. About 9:20 p.m., she came home to find him in the driveway, yelling at her. “Take me to Gaithersburg!’ he said, continuing to pressure her to do so. Creighton said “it was obvious to her that Senning was very intoxicated,” Gloss wrote.
Creighton began driving him to Gaithersburg. Senning yelled at her to go “Faster! Faster Faster!” and at one point reached down to try to push the accelerator with his hand. He began to grab and pull her hair.
When Creighton reached the Harris Teeter, she bailed out. Senning followed her and tried to drag her back into the car, but Creighton broke free.
At some point that night, according to police, Senning left Suburban Hospital, but it is unclear how. Officers may have been under the impression that his condition left him unable to walk, so they left him unattended.
On Tuesday, Creighton applied for a Temporary Protective Order, stating that she and Stenning were intimate partners. In her application, she wrote that Senning had also lived in her home in June, July and August of 2013.
A judge granted the order and set a court hearing for May 27, according to court records.
Police asked anyone with information about Senning’s whereabouts to call 911. Crime Solvers of Montgomery County — 1-866-411-TIPS — is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest in the case.