A Lexington Park man who hit his fiancee on the head with a cinder block — in an attack witnessed by a law officer — was sentenced to 20 years of incarceration.
At Monday morning’s lengthy sentencing hearing, Assistant State’s Attorney Buffy Giddens played a 911 call dated July 25 where a woman is heard screaming for help from inside her car, saying her boyfriend, later identified as Mitchell William Donnelly, was “literally trying to kill” her several times before the call abruptly ended.
Giddens said that call was placed before Donnelly pulled her out of the car and continued to assault her.
That day, St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Deputy Ronald Maloy responded to the residence off Poplar Ridge Road in Lexington Park and witnessed Donnelly, 25, strike the woman on her head with a cinder block. Donnelly also attempted to take the lawman’s weapon away from him during the arrest, according to charging documents.
Two police body camera videos were also shown at Monday’s hearing, showing Maloy and later, other officers attempting to arrest Donnelly as he screamed “Shoot me!” several times.
“That’s just a little bit of flavor as to what Mr. Donnelly is like when he is out on his own in the community,” Giddens said.
Also introduced into evidence were photos of injuries on the woman’s body, some of which Giddens said included “bite marks that she still has scars from today.”
“She is lucky to be alive,” Giddens said. “She is lucky that Officer Maloy showed up when he did.”
Donnelly had pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in October for the attack, and has a pending violation of probation hearing in Anne Arundel County for the incident, which occurred while he was on probation for misdemeanor offenses while he lived in Severn, online court records show.
“The state’s position is when he is in control, when he is out on his own, he is too great a risk,” Giddens said.
Giving a victim impact statement, the 21-year-old woman whom Donnelly had attacked said he had put his fist in her mouth and scraped her throat, dragged her by her hair across a patch of gravel and “bit a huge chunk from [her] face” that day.
“When he got tired of using his fists, he bashed me in the face with a 30-pound cinder block,” she said.
Since her interactions with Donnelly, she has been “absolutely terrified of men,” and “absolutely terrified of being in public,” she said.
“I stand here today to get justice for the absolutely horrible things Mr. Donnelly has done to me,” she said.
Public defender Amber Wetzel argued that at 25, Donnelly had only recently started to show signs of mental disorders.
“We have someone sitting in front of the court whose brain is still developing,” Wetzel said, adding that “at some point,” he would be “back in the community,” and would need rehabilitation.
“Mr. Donnelly knows he is not walking away from this today,” she said, later adding, “He wants to maintain some hope for his life on the other side.”
Speaking in court, Donnelly said he did not remember the events of that day, but said he was “truly mortified” seeing the video.
“I’ve been trying to seek spirituality and faith to become a better man,” he said.
Donnelly said he is working on becoming a “kind-hearted human who has a place in life. But “I’ll never be able to undo what I did to this young woman.”
“I listened to that 911 call and I made a note on my paper — ‘chilling,’” St. Mary’s Circuit Judge Joseph Stanalonis told Donnelly. “I don’t think [she] would be here if the police officer did not show up when he showed up.”
Stanalonis sentenced Donnelly to 25 years of incarceration, which is the maximum sentence for first-degree assault, suspended to 20 years, as well as five years of supervised probation. He authorized Donnelly for the Patuxent Institution, a behavioral health-centered prison in Jessup, and ordered for him to pay $1,506.58 in restitution to the woman, who had her car damaged and her cellphone destroyed on top of her medical expenses.
“That does not cover the amount [the woman] is going to have to endure for the rest of her life,” Stanalonis said, noting she had suffered a concussion from the incident and now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Fortunately for you, [she] is alive,” Stanalonis said at the end of the hearing. “And, fortunately for you, the maximum penalty is 25 years,” he said.