Due to a production error, a Metro article yesterday about the sentencing of a carjacker in Montgomery County was missing a portion of the first paragraph in one edition. It should have read: A District man was ordered yesterday to serve 25 years in a Maryland prison for carjacking a woman's car in her Chevy Chase neighborhood in March and driving off with her 9-month-old daughter strapped in the back seat. (Published 12/24/1999)
A District man was ordered yesterday to serve 25 years in a Maryland prison for carjacking a woman's car in her Chevy Chase neighborhood in March and driving off with her 9-month-old daughter strapped in the back seat.
Montgomery County prosecutors said David Stratmon, 19, had been out of the D.C. jail less than 24 hours and was still wearing a jail-issued orange jumpsuit when he approached Eun-Sook Yang as she spoke with a neighbor in the 4500 block of Elm Street.
Both women pleaded with Stratmon to leave the child behind, prosecutors said, but he drove off, speeding up as Yang clung to the side of the car. Yang was dragged more than 300 feet. Stratmon left the child unharmed in the 1995 Honda Accord after he hit another car and abandoned the Honda in the Saks Fifth Avenue parking lot in Friendship Heights.
Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Paul A. McGuckian sentenced Stratmon, who has no fixed address, to the maximum 30 years in prison for the carjacking charge, but he suspended five of those years. The judge also suspended a maximum five-year sentence for reckless endangerment. Stratmon pleaded guilty to both charges.
McGuckian said Stratmon's extensive juvenile record and the fact that he was continuing to commit crimes as an adult showed he was "repeating that pattern" of crime. "Society has a right to be protected," the judge said.
Stratmon showed no reaction at the sentence, but he apologized to Yang and her husband, who sat in the second row of the Rockville courtroom. "I never intended or planned on taking someone else's child," Stratmon said.
His attorney, Barry Helfand, told the judge that Stratmon had been raised by his grandmothers from the age of 2, when his father was convicted of killing his mother. Stratmon committed his first crime when he was charged with breaking and entering at 11, Helfand said. "Is it any wonder he's here today?" Helfand told the judge.
But in asking for the maximum sentence, Assistant State's Attorney Robert Steinheimer said the carjacking was so violent that it could have killed the woman as she clung to the car.
Yang still has dark scrape marks on both cheekbones and the bridge of her nose, which she said a doctor told her are the permanent scars of the road burns she suffered on her face, hands and legs as she was dragged along the pavement.