When Andrew Bullock forced his way into the young Centreville woman's apartment last December, the only thing preventing him from raping or killing her was the unexpected presence of her boyfriend. And even then, Bullock wouldn't be deterred.
Making his way to her bedroom where the woman was sleeping, Bullock ripped open the front of her nightgown, pulled out boxcutters and cables and asked her and her boyfriend if they wanted to die.
LUCKILY, the boyfriend — a former wrestler in school — was able to overpower the intruder, and he was eventually brought to justice. And on May 5 in Fairfax County Circuit Court, Judge Michael McWeeny sentenced Bullock to 12 years in prison.
"There are many kinds of burglaries, but this is a riveting one and, by no means, run-of-the-mill," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney John Murphy before the sentencing. "This one was sinister and terrifying for the victims."
At the time of the offense, Bullock, 45, and the woman, 26, lived in the same apartment building in the 6200 block of Ridge Pond Road in Centre Ridge. He knew what kind of vehicle she drove and, on Dec. 26 at 1:30 a.m., he decided to pay her a visit.
Unbeknownst to him, however, the woman — whom Centre View is not identifying since she's a victim — had a boyfriend in the military who was home on leave. So when Bullock knocked on her door, he was surprised to find it answered by a 26-year-old man named Montiel who asked what he wanted.
"He lied and said he'd just hit [her] Jimmy truck and wanted to exchange [insurance] information with her," said Murphy. "The boyfriend asked if it could wait 'til morning, but finally went out in the hallway with him."
Suddenly, said Murphy, "Bullock rushed him and pushed him back into the apartment. They struggled and, to his horror, Montiel saw Bullock pull out what he thought was a handgun, but later realized was a 4-inch drill."
Bullock then headed toward the woman's bedroom, said Murphy, with Montiel trying to stop the much-larger man by jumping on his back. But Bullock kept going forward, carrying Montiel with him, piggyback style, into the bedroom. That's when Bullock tore open the woman's nightgown and threatened the couple's lives.
"Montiel thought Bullock was going to bind and rape his girlfriend," continued Murphy. "So Montiel attempted to strangle Bullock with a belt, allowing her to break free and run for help." Then, calling on his wrestling experience, Montiel pinned Bullock against the wall and held him there until police arrived.
BULLOCK WAS charged with breaking and entering with the intent to commit assault and battery. On March 13, he entered an Alford plea, not directly admitting his guilt, but acknowledging the existence of enough evidence to convict him. Police had also charged him with two counts of abduction, but Murphy agreed to drop these charges in exchange for Bullock's guilty plea on the other charge.
At the sentencing, Bullock's former employer called him "a pussycat," and his brother Alfred described him as "low key" and "easygoing." But the victim saw an entirely different side of him.
"What happened on that night caused my life so much disruption," she told the court. "I'd just graduated and moved there two months prior. My life's been turned upside down. I go to counseling every week and live in fear that someone will break in and attack me."
She urged Judge McWeeny to "look at the sheer will and determination [Bullock] had when trying to overpower my boyfriend and I, and not just the outcome. I could have been raped. I beg of you to sentence him to the maximum possible sentence."
Noting that Bullock was previously convicted of cocaine possession and distribution charges, Murphy said, "The defendant claims he was acting irrationally [that night], but he'd somehow noted the type of car she drives, which apartment she lived in, knocked on the door and talked about a fictitious accident. These are not the things an utterly irrational person does."
Then, said Murphy, Bullock forced his way into the woman's bedroom, carrying boxcutters, cord and a drill. "The victims were confronted with the sheer determination and audacity of the defendant," he said. "People were screaming, things were falling over and, still, this man wouldn't stop."
Murphy said it was because of the "heroic and quick confrontation" by Montiel — who later received an award from the county for his actions — that Bullock's "full intentions didn't unfold." He then asked McWeeny to sentence Bullock to "a substantial period of incarceration — 20 years. This defendant represents a chilling danger to the community."
BUT DEFENSE attorney Robert F. Horan III told the judge, "You have to do a fair amount of speculation to come to the conclusions you're being asked to." And he asked McWeeny to, instead, consider what didn't happen.
"Despite Bullock being of superior size and strength, he inflicted no serious injury on Montiel," said Horan. "Montiel choked him with a belt and hit him on the head with his hand. If Bullock's intention was to harm the victims, he certainly didn't accomplish this."
However, Horan did acknowledge that his client had brought a drill into the apartment. "It's a bizarre situation," he said. "[Bullock] had used a lot of alcohol [that night] and, perhaps, had been given some LSD. He put down the drill and threatened [the couple] with boxcutters and then put them down and threatened them with a cord or wires. He had a knife in his hand but, it he intended to harm them with it, he wouldn't have put it down."
Horan said it "certainly was a harrowing experience" for the couple, but Bullock "didn't follow up" on his threats. Said Horan: "The one who went to the hospital that night for treatment of injuries was Mr. Bullock. This is completely out-of-the-ordinary [behavior] for him." He then asked McWeeny to sentence Bullock to the midpoint of the state sentencing guidelines, three years and 10 months.
Bullock then stood and apologized to everyone affected in this case. "I never intentionally hurt anybody," he said. "I walked in under the influence of alcohol and drugs. I'm sorry for what I put them through."
But the judge had the last word. "I disagree with Mr. Horan that we don't know what his intentions were," said McWeeny. "The effects of the invasion and his question, 'Do you want to die?' [left no doubt about Bullock's intentions]. He didn't put down his weapons willingly; the drill was dropped, so he pulled out boxcutters."
McWeeny then sentenced Bullock to 20 years in prison, suspending eight, and placing him on five years active probation afterward. He also ordered him to have no contact with either victim.
Afterward, the woman's father said he's glad Bullock was prosecuted and is off the streets. But, he added, "I'm appalled that a person of his character is given more and more breaks and allowed to manipulate the system, when the police force is working diligently to protect the victims. This is a travesty. He's a five-time, convicted felon and he's only been given 12 years."