- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Calvert County Circuit Court Judge E. Gregory Wells sentenced Samuel K. Hance to 15 years in prison Tuesday afternoon after he entered an Alford plea in December to second-degree rape.
An Alford plea acknowledges the state has enough evidence for a conviction but does not admit guilt.
Hance, 21, of St. Leonard was indicted in July on charges of second-degree rape, third-degree sex offense and second-degree assault for allegedly raping a then-14-year-old girl while she was unconscious at a house party in November 2011.
Hance was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with five years suspended, and was given credit for the time he has served in the Calvert County Detention Center since July 2012. He was also placed on five years of supervised probation upon his release. He will have to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.
“My daughter became a victim of rape at the age of 14,” the victim’s mother said during a victim impact statement. “[Hance] stole her innocence and turned her world upside down. … This life-altering event won’t go away. … Her life has changed forever.”
The victim’s mother said nothing about the incident has been handled privately because her daughter has been confronted at school by her peers and the incident has been discussed on social media websites.
“This is something the victim has not been able to close a door on,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Kathryn Marsh.
Public defender Del Lynch said Hance was “remorseful” for his actions. Lynch said he believed some of Hance’s “sad history,” such as alcoholism, drug abuse and his father’s sudden death, led to his poor decision making the night of the incident.
“I’m sorry,” Hance said before he was sentenced. “I take full responsibility for my actions that night. There was a lot of alcohol going around that night and I should be held accountable for my actions.”
Before handing down the sentence, Wells told Hance that although he may have had “something to drink” the night of the incident, it did not impair his ability to make a decision to “assess the situation,” carry the 14-year-old girl, who was unconscious on a couch, upstairs to a bedroom, undress her and rape her.
“You did take advantage of a young lady,” Wells said, adding that Hance was “not so intoxicated” as to not understand what he was doing.
Hance also has an extensive criminal history, including charges of theft and drug possession, which show he cannot live “within the confines of the law,” Wells said.
Marsh said on Nov. 27, 2011, the 14-year-old girl and a friend went to a party at a house in Lusby where she was drinking alcohol. Marsh said the girl was “hanging out with a friend” all night and became intoxicated, and she then passed out on a couch. The only other thing the girl remembers about the night, Marsh said, is that she woke up in an upstairs bedroom lying on a bed while a man was raping her.
According to charging documents, the girl told troopers she remembered being in the bathroom briefly as people helped her get dressed. She said her leggings and underwear were missing and she remembered she was vomiting while she was in the bed, troopers said. The girl was then driven to Calvert Memorial Hospital, where she received a medical exam, and possible DNA evidence was found. A test of the girl’s blood alcohol level resulted in a .158, troopers said.
Police then spoke to witnesses, Marsh said, who said they saw a “man in a black jacket” carry the unconscious girl upstairs and then come back downstairs alone. Troopers identified three possible suspects, two of whom consented to providing a DNA sample. Troopers said they were unable to locate the third suspect, identified as Hance, until Dec. 20, 2011, when he contacted his probation officer.
Hance allegedly told troopers he was at the party and admitted to carrying the girl upstairs, according to charging documents. Hance said he went back downstairs after taking the girl upstairs and refused to provide DNA samples, troopers said.
A search and seizure warrant for Hance’s DNA was granted Jan. 5, and the warrant was served Jan. 11, 2012. The DNA was tested by the Maryland State Police Crime Laboratory in Pikesville, and troopers received the results Feb. 26, 2012, which state Hance’s DNA matched the DNA evidence collected at the hospital.
Hance was originally arrested and charged July 9 in Calvert County District Court on charges of second-degree rape and second-degree assault. A week later, Hance was indicted in circuit court.