In a highly emotional hearing yesterday in a Bethesda courtroom, the brother of accused rapist Richard Dale Baumgardner broke down in tears and had to be helped from the witness stand when asked about the Jan. 7 assault on a Silver Spring woman who was thrown into the frigid waters of the Patuxent River.
Baumgardner is charged with kidnaping the woman from a Wheaton shopping mall, raping her and then throwing her from the Rocky Gorge Bridge. The woman was able to swim to shore, walk to the road and flag down a motorist, according to police.
Subpoenaed to testify at a hearing yesterday in the case, Wayne David Baumgardner, 28, of Bethesda identified himself as the brother of Richard Dale Baumgardner, 25, in response to questions from Deputy State's Attorney Matthew Campbell. When asked if he had seen his brother on Jan. 7, Wayne Baumgardner began sobbing.
"I can't do this," he said, leaning forward and laying his head on the witness stand.
As Baumgardner continued to sob, his wife Lori rushed forward from the audience to comfort her husband. The sobbing continued, and after a short time Baumgardner was helped down from the witness stand and led from the courtroom, with his wife on one side and Montgomery County Detective Gary Smith on the other.
Richard Baumgardner, who is being held without bond, remained hunched in his chair, showing little emotion.
District Court Judge Charles W. Woodward Jr. called a recess to allow Wayne Baumgardner time to pull himself together.
After the recess, and after another witness had completed his testimony, Baumgardner returned to the witness stand and answered questions for about 15 minutes. There was no further outburst.
Wayne Baumgardner, who eventually turned his brother in to authorities, testified that he saw his brother in a shopping center parking lot on the afternoon of Jan. 7, only a few hours after the alleged assault.
"I asked what happened," Wayne Baumgardner said. "All he did was break down and cry."
Baumgardner said his brother had told him that he approached the woman in the Wheaton Plaza shopping center parking lot with a knife, drove her in her car to her bank, where she withdrew $80 from the automatic teller machine, and eventually took her to a Howard County motel.
"He said he made love to her at the motel," Baumgardner testified. He said that the woman was not restrained at any time during the evening. Police have said that she told them she was handcuffed throughout the ordeal and that they found the handcuffs used on the woman.
Wayne Baumgardner said his brother became upset when the woman warned him that she could "get him for rape" and that he could end up in jail. Wayne Baumgardner said that his brother, who served six years in jail on a rape conviction, "couldn't take the idea" of having to return to prison and decided to silence the woman by gagging her with one of her gloves.
Asked if his brother had admitted throwing the woman into the Patuxent River, Baumgardner said yes. "He said he waited to hear a splash," Baumgardner testified.
After the testimony, Judge Woodward ruled that there was probable cause to hold Baumgardner for further legal proceedings.