Michael Lee Carpenter, a 36-year-old truck driver, pleaded guilty yesterday to two rapes, one attempted rape and five burglaries committed in the western part of Alexandria over the last five years.
Carpenter told Alexandria Circuit Court Judge Donald M. Haddock: "I'm sorry about what happened. I need some help. I want to apologize for what I have done."
Carpenter, of the 6100 block of Edsall Road, Alexandria, was found mentally competent to stand trial although having what was described as borderline intelligence between mild retardation and low-average. He could receive up to two life sentences plus 110 years.
The judge scheduled sentencing for March 28, following an investigation of Carpenter's background.
Commonwealth's Attorney John E. Kloch called Carpenter's offenses "a serious series of crimes" and told a reporter he intends to "ask for a serious penalty," although he said he would not elaborate pending completion of the investigation.
In a 61-page statement to police, Carpenter described a series of intrusions into women's apartments in western Alexandria over the last five years. In almost every case, he said, he entered apartments from balconies, took pictures from family albums and ate food he found in the refrigerators.
He said in the statement that he was lonely and that he took the pictures so he could think of the women as friends. He said he ate the food "so that he could feel at home."
Two clinical psychologists agreed that Carpenter was competent to stand trial under Virginia law and did "not lack substantial capacity to understand the proceedings against him."
As a result, defense attorney Bobby B. Stafford said he dropped plans to have Carpenter plead not guilty by reason of insanity.
One of the psychologists, Kenneth B. Feigenbaum, employed by the City of Alexandria, said in a report to the court that although he agreed that Carpenter was competent to stand trial, "In my professional judgment Mr. Carpenter is, and was, suffering from a mental disease or illness that to a significant degree diminished his capacity to exercise good judgment and to engage in adequate reality testing.
"It appears from the record that the primary impulse was not to steal and not to harm his victims. Rather, we have a pathetic man starved for affection and sexuality . . . What sadistic rapist would behave as he did toward his victims?"
Feigenbaum wrote that "even though the victims of any 'rape' do suffer some psychological trauma, it appeared that Mr. Carpenter used a minimum of force and treated the 'victims' as best he could given the circumstance of his action."