BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A 50-year-old man was convicted of attempted rape, assault and other charges after he broke into an elderly woman’s Edgewater home last year and tried to sexually assault her, Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said.

A jury convicted Paul Harell on all counts, including attempted first-degree rape, first-degree assault, use of a deadly weapon and home invasion, prosecutors said.

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Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 30. Harell, who had previously been convicted of three counts of rape in the 1990s, faces a life sentence, plus 58 years, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, a 74-year-old Edgewater woman called police on Aug. 13, 2021 and said a man broke into her home in the 2300 block of Likes Road and assaulted her while she was asleep.

She woke up when a man tried to hold her down in her bed. A struggle ensued, and the man hit her in the head several times before telling the victim to roll onto her stomach or he would kill her, prosecutors said.

The woman fought harder, and the man put a knife to her throat, but she was able to break free and press her medical alert device, sounding an alarm, prosecutors said.

The man ran into the basement as the woman called 911 and told authorities her attacker was wearing dark colored shorts and work boots.

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An Anne Arundel County police officer who arrived at the scene following the attack and spoke to the victim saw the woman had a puncture wound in her upper chest, prosecutors said.

A witness later reported seeing a suspicious dark brown or gray minivan traveling away from the victim’s residence and making a U-turn on an adjacent street back toward the house, prosecutors said. Letters on the rear window said “Masks 4 Sale.”

An Anne Arundel County police officer found a gray Ford Escape SUV with “Masks 4 Sale” on the rear window in the parking lot of a convenience store and detained the driver, identified as Harell.

Police interviewed Harell and also took pictures of the vehicle and its license plate.

Investigators later learned Harell worked for a cleaning company and had been to the woman’s home a few days before the attack, prosecutors said.

During the investigation, police determined Harell’s DNA was under the woman’s fingernails, prosecutors said. Members of the FBI’s Cellular Analysis Team placed Harell’s phone in the area of the victim’s home at the time of the attack.

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According to prosecutors, Harell had been convicted of three counts of rape in Washington in 1993, serving 16 years in prison before he was civilly committed to the state.

CBS Baltimore Staff