Two burglars wielding butcher knives and rifles terrorized an 82-year-old retired circuit court judge for almost three hours here yesterday, stabbed him twice and fled with an unknown amount of money. The judge, Oden Bowie Duckett, was rushed to the hospital bleeding from a knife wound in his arm, was treated overnight and released this afternoon.
Police said the two assailants forced their way into the judge's home on Americana Drive, in the Eastport section of Annapolis, about 1 p.m. They stabbed him in the chest and arm, cut the telephone lines and led him around the house as they ransacked it.
Duckett's wife returned to the house about 3 p.m., police said, and was knocked to the ground by the two men, who held a rifle to her head. Clare Duckett, 78, called loudly for help, attracting the attention of a resident in the nearby Watergate Village condominium complex, who came running with his dog. The two men fled into nearby woods.
Police used dogs, a helicopter and boats to search the area, which lies on Back Creek, but could not find the men. They continued interviewing area residents yesterday in hopes of finding a lead and offered a $1,000 reward through the Crime Solvers program. City police spokesman Lt. John Wright said the neighborhood is not known as a high-crime area.
Duckett, retired from the Anne Arundel Circuit Court, is the uncle of the county prosecutor, State's Attorney Warren B. Duckett. Warren Duckett said yesterday that his uncle and aunt told him the two men first came to their house about 10 a.m. on foot, claiming they were lost. The two asked for directions to the Naval Academy, he said, where they said their brother was a midshipman.
"My uncle said to my aunt: 'That's very fishy.' He didn't believe it,' " Warren Duckett said.
Clare Duckett left the house about 1 p.m. and the two men came in the open door brandishing rifles and knives, Warren Duckett said. They took the judge through the house, and into the attic and basement, looking for money and "terrorizing him with the knives," according to Warren Duckett. The judge was stabbed superficially in the chest and seriously in one arm.
About 3 p.m., Clare Duckett returned, and one of the men grabbed her around the neck, threw her to the floor and held a gun on her, Warren Duckett said. She began shouting and the gunman "told her to be quiet or he would shoot. She didn't stop. Her hollering raised the curiosity of neighbors." When a neighbor arrived, he said, the two men ran away.
Warren Duckett said his uncle and aunt were "very traumatized" by the incident but are strong and lively and have set about the task of cleaning and tidying their house.
Police said they know of no motive for the attack, other than theft.