An Upper Marlboro man was sentenced yesterday to 20 years in prison for abducting and robbing the wife of U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) in McLean. The term is nearly twice what was recommended by Virginia sentencing guidelines.
Michael J. Pierre, 27, pleaded guilty to invading the Greggs' home in October 2003 with Christopher L. Forbes, 33. The two men admitted ransacking the house and threatening to rape and kill Kathleen M. Gregg before she drove to her bank to withdraw money.
While the teller was handing over $4,000 in cash, Kathleen Gregg darted through a side door of the Wachovia bank branch on Chain Bridge Road in McLean and escaped. Pierre admitted that he held a knife to Gregg's neck as she drove to the bank and that he ran out of the bank with the money after his captive suddenly disappeared.
Gregg told authorities that she had persuaded the pair to let her drive them to a bank to get cash, as a way to get out of her house and survive. Pierre and Forbes were arrested two days later in New Jersey, with much of the Greggs' $30,000 in stolen valuables in the back of their stolen car.
Kathleen Gregg did not attend any of the court hearings for the two men, and Fairfax Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Julie Mitchell said the Greggs "did not wish to incur any more unnecessary publicity." The senator's office did not return a call seeking comment yesterday, but it has thanked Mitchell and Fairfax County police for their work.
Forbes was sentenced last month to 15 years in prison. Mitchell said yesterday that Pierre "was the more violent and active participant" and the one who threatened to rape and kill Gregg.
Virginia sentencing guidelines recommended a sentence of seven to 101/2 years for Pierre. Mitchell said the guidelines in this case were "inadequate and do not account for the violent and terrifying invasion into Mrs. Gregg's home."
James G. Connell III, Pierre's attorney, noted that Pierre had no criminal record until he became addicted to cocaine and heroin in 2003. He said the sentencing guidelines took into account all aspects of the home invasion and robbery, and he asked Fairfax Chief Circuit Court Judge Michael P. McWeeny to impose a term within the guidelines.
Pierre told the judge: "I committed a serious and terrible crime. . . . I only pray continuously and every day that the pain that I caused and the emotional stress that I caused to Mrs. Gregg and her family can one day be put behind them. I am eternally sorry."
McWeeny agreed that the crimes were terrible and added, "You're lucky something more serious didn't happen." He sentenced Pierre to 10 years each on the robbery and abduction charges, to run consecutively.