Kathleen Gregg's "remarkable savvy and presence of mind" saved her from the "truly nightmarish situation" Michael J. Pierre put her through, according to Julie Mitchell, assistant commonwealth's attorney.
Pierre, 27, was sentenced Friday, June 3 to 20 years in prison for the abduction and robbery of the wife of U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) from her McLean home.
"In 2003, I committed a serious and terrible crime," said Pierre, during his sentencing hearing in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
"I tried to realize the terror and pain I caused Mrs. Gregg and her family. I know I can't fully do that," he said. "I also know my words can't redeem myself to Mrs. Gregg and her family. I can only pray continuously and every day that the pain I caused and emotional distress I did to Mrs. Gregg and her family can one day be put behind them and she and her family can live in happiness. I am eternally sorry."
<b>AFTER RUNNING</b>a short errand, Kathleen Gregg returned to her McLean home on Oct. 7, 2003, when Pierre and co-defendant Christopher Forbes, 34, entered her home from the garage. As she attempted to flee, Forbes knocked her to the ground, tied her hands and sat on her back as Pierre ransacked the Greggs' home, eventually stealing golf clubs and Gregg's diamond ring among other items, according to court documents.
Pierre was the more violent of the two defendants, according to Mitchell.
"He was the one who held a knife to Mrs. Gregg," she said during the sentencing hearing. "He was the one who ransacked her home. He was the one who threatened to rape and kill her. He was the one who held the knife to her side as she withdrew thousands of dollars [from the bank]."
Gregg, who convinced Pierre to take her to the bank, managed to escape after she withdrew money for Pierre.
Her abduction was only a part of the "significant and serious crime spree he and his co-defendant engaged in that week," according to Mitchell.
<b>"PRIOR TO 2003,</b> Mr. Pierre was not a criminal," said Pierre's defense attorney James G. Connell III.
Pierre graduated from Largo High School and had attended the University of Maryland. His mother died in July 2001, Connell said during the hearing.
"Some people cope well with grief, some people do not," said Connell. "He began to drink heavily, and in 2003 … moved on to cocaine, crack and heroin. This case demonstrates the evils of crack cocaine."
Connell acknowledged that Pierre committed a "string of terrible crimes in Northern Virginia. There is no doubt about that," he said.
Pierre and Forbes were apprehended after they were involved in a high-speed chase with police from Carteret, N.J., the day after the abduction. Connell said when Forbes "led police on a high-speed chase," Pierre jumped out of the moving vehicle. His client cooperated with police and was willing to testify against Forbes in his case, Connell said.
<b>SENTENCING GUIDELINES</b> ranged from seven years to 10 years and six months, but Fairfax County Circuit Court Chief Judge Michael P. McWeeny sentenced Pierre to 20 years for each count, suspending 10 years on each count but ordering the sentences to be served consecutively.
"Frankly, you're lucky something more serious didn't happen," McWeeny said to Pierre.
On May 6, McWeeny sentenced Forbes to 15 years in prison, which was part of an agreement between Forbes and prosecutors. McWeeny also sentenced Forbes to more than guidelines suggested.
U.S. Sen. Gregg and his wife did not attend either hearing or write victim impact statements. They did not want extra publicity from the case, according to Mitchell.
Instead of going to trial, both defendants pleaded guilty earlier this year.