Man convicted of child sex abuse resentenced
Appellate court ruling remands 2011 case
Due to an appellate court ruling which remanded his case back to Charles County Circuit Court, a man convicted in 2011 for sexually abusing a girl throughout her childhood in the 1970s was given another sentencing hearing, and essentially a chance to drastically reduce his 40-year active sentence.
Decades after Donald Richard Twigg, 77, formerly of Bryans Road, raped and molested the girl, a jury convicted him after hearing testimony and a recorded phone call of Twigg confessing to the abuse.
In 2010, the victim reported the abuse to detectives of the Charles
County Sheriff’s Office. The abuse began sometime in 1971 when he began fondling the then 7 or 8-year-old girl and touching her inappropriately, court records indicate. This continued throughout the years and eventually escalated to sex. Around the age of 14 or 15, she was able to avoid confrontations by working and lying about her menstrual cycle until eventually he seemed to lose interest and the abuse stopped, she told detectives.
In 2011, former Charles County Circuit Court Judge Robert Nalley sentenced him to a total of 40 years on counts of child sexual abuse, second-degree rape, third-degree sex offense and incest, but last year, the court of special appeals ruled that the second-degree rape charge, which carries the highest maximum penalty, should have merged into child sexual abuse as the predicate required to establish the basis of the charge under the pre1990 statute.
Generally in criminal cases, the law as it stood during the incident date must be applied. Therefore, the appellate court determined the merger was needed to eliminate redundancies in sentencing.
With the second-degree rape charge vacated, Twigg appeared before Judge Amy Bragunier on Thursday to be resentenced at her discretion.
Public defender Michael Beach asked Bragunier to consider his otherwise clean criminal record, as well as his old age and poor medical condition. He told the court that Twigg’s spleen had since ruptured while in prison and that the medical procedure revealed that he had also developed leukemia. Beach requested that Bragunier merge all other counts and hand down a flat nine year sentence for the child sexual abuse.
Assistant State’s Attorney Tiffany Campbell read an impact statement written by the victim, who sat with her family during proceedings. In the statement, she said he deserves the maximum penalty allowed by law as “he has left me with a lifetime of pain and suffering” and “… the only thing he is sorry for is himself.” His age and health should not be considered, she said, because he did not consider that when he abused her.
Campbell also played an excerpt from a recorded phone call used in the trial.
During the call, the victim asked, “What if you got me pregnant?”
“That’s why we also used those things,” he replied.
“What things, condoms? “Yeah.” “I don’t remember always using those.” “Well, I do.” After hearing arguments from both sides, Bragunier went back to her chambers for a brief recess to review other documentation and returned with her sentence: 35 years of active incarceration, while granting just short of five years in time ser ved credit.
After the hearing, Beach told the Maryland Independent that they will continue to pursue avenues of appellate relief.
“I was very pleased with the results today,” said the victim’s husband outside the courthouse. “It was nice to see justice served after five years having to deal with this the way we have, to see the emotional toll it’s taken on the family.”