Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A D.C. Superior Court judge yesterday sentenced a former Holy Cross Hospital valet to more than three years in prison for stalking a woman who worked at the hospital, copying her keys and videotaping her while he hid under her bed.

“Planning for this offense was extensive, cunning, and it was devastating to the victim,” Judge Herbert B. Dixon Jr. said before sentencing Carlo Castellanos-Feria. “There is no physical harm, but no doubt that the psychological harm is extreme.”

Castellanos-Feria, 32, of Hyattsville, told the court that he didn’t intend to harm anyone. “I [was] madly in love and it [clouded] my judgment,” he said. “And that’s the truth and I beg your forgiveness.”

He pleaded guilty in March to stalking and burglarizing the D.C. home of Michelle Fredenburg-Onion, 35, a former director in the physical therapy program at the Silver Spring hospital.

He was sentenced to consecutive terms of eight months in prison on the misdemeanor stalking charge and 30 months for second-degree burglary, followed by three years of probation. He also will undergo a sexual-offender evaluation.

Judge Dixon rejected a request by the prosecution for a stiffer sentence based on the nature of the burglary and also rejected a defense call for a lighter sentence based on Castellanos-Feria’s mental health.

“I hope that… you will begin to realize the devastating effect of your actions on the victim in this case,” the judge told Castellanos-Feria after handing down the sentence.

Prosecutors said Castellanos-Feria became obsessed with Mrs. Fredenburg-Onion — who was single at the time of the incident — when she used the hospital’s valet service last year.

After making copies of Mrs. Fredenburg-Onion’s keys, Castellanos-Feria entered her apartment on V Street Northwest on Nov. 25. He camouflaged a video camera on her dresser and hid under her bed for two consecutive nights before being discovered by Marc C. Onion, Mrs. Fredenburg-Onion’s then-boyfriend who now is her husband.

He had a bag containing notebooks, a video camera, two tapes, a power cord, latex gloves and unused condoms when he was arrested.

“That’s an example of the kind of careful planning that went into this crime,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Keri S. Barta, who prosecuted the case. “He had a very specific plan in mind for that weekend.”

Mrs. Fredenburg-Onion said the incident has been “life-changing.”

“I’m still looking behind shower curtains, and I get really nervous when I hear noises that aren’t familiar to me,” she said. “I don’t want this to ever happen to anyone else … it’s a horrible experience.”

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