Alexandria Circuit Court Judge Alfred D. Swersky sentenced a cemetery worker to 15 years in prison yesterday for robbing an elderly woman of $10 during a two-hour burglary in January that became controversial because police went to the wrong address.
John Emory McDaniel pleaded guilty June 20 to one count of burglary for stealing the money from a grocery bag in the home of 89-year-old Ada Belle Allan.
McDaniel, 25, was charged with burglary, robbery and attempting to rape Allan, but the last charge was dropped by prosecutors after Allan died of congestive heart failure Feb. 21.
Commonwealth's Attorney John E. Kloch said his office was unable to prosecute McDaniel on the attempted rape charge because of his constitutional right to be confronted by his accuser in court.
Allan, who told a friend that she had cried, "Oh my God, help me," throughout her two-hour ordeal on Jan. 26, had given police an account of the assault before she died, but Kloch said he could not use it in court.
The assault drew widespread attention because police officers responding to Allan's first telephone call for help, in which she told them she believed someone was trying to break into her home, went to the wrong house by mistake, according to police.
Allan placed a second call after the assault.
Four police officers were disciplined after the incident, according to police; Acting City Manager Vola Lawson ordered several major changes in the Public Safety Department as a result of the incident.
Judge Swersky imposed the maximum penalty of 20 years on McDaniel yesterday, but suspended five years.