A second Columbia teenager has pleaded guilty to his role in an attempted robbery of a cab driver who escaped by crashing his taxi into a tree and fleeing. A judge sentenced him to 18 months in prison.
Johnham Perez-Rivera, 16, of the 9400 block of Merry Rest Road, pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery and one county of first-degree assault at Howard County Circuit Court on Tuesday, with sentencing by Judge Louis A. Becker III.
Police said Perez-Rivera, along with three other local teens, called a cab driver on March 1 in Columbia to take them to a party. After getting into the cab with the driver and driving to Sewell's Orchard, Perez-Rivera, who was seated behind the driver, used a karate belt to choke the driver. At the same, time a second teen, Khalid Khaheim Woods, 19, pulled an Airsoft BB gun on the driver, according to court records.
Police said the driver, now fearing for his life, put his foot on the gas and crashed into a tree. The collision caused injuries to the driver but gave him the ability to escape to a neighboring residence, said police.
Perez-Rivera, Woods and the two other teens identified by police as being with them--Woody Rousseau, 17 and Chellby Ofosusafori, 17—were charged with attempted murder after being arrested in March. All four were Oakland Mills High School students at the time of the assault.
Earlier this month, Woods pleaded guilty to his involvement in planning the attack. He is scheduled to be sentenced in November.
Perez-Rivera's defense attorney told the court the teen was attempting to subdue the driver with the karate belt, according to Wayne Kirwan, spokesperson for the Howard County state's attorney's office.
The cab driver told the court that since the incident he has suffered panic attacks, according to Kirwan.
"People trying to take my life for a couple of dollars... this shouldn't have happened to anybody," the driver told the court, according to Kirwan.
The other two teens charged in the incident are currently awaiting trial, according to court records.
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