A Maryland man charged with attempted murder told police he thought he was with a female prostitute but was embarrassed when he discovered his mistake.
Late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, 20-year-old Christian Ariel Romero met the 41-year-old victim outside the Coco Cabana Bar and Grill in Hyattsville, Md., and allegedly offered the victim money for sex, Montgomery County police said.
Romero drove to the victim’s neighborhood on Ruatan Street in Silver Spring, and when Romero discovered his companion was a man, he allegedly repeatedly stabbed the victim, police said.
“The suspect did return to the scene where it occurred and was remorseful and admitted his involvement to the police,” Montgomery County police Capt. Paul Starks said.
Romero has no prior criminal record, according to his lawyer, Joel Duboff.
A dozen family members went to court Tuesday to support Romero.
The judge set bail at $500,000, which Duboff called harsh.
“I’m shocked,” he said. “The defendant is a person who’s 20 years old, never done anything wrong in his entire life. And the person who is on the other side is, what it appears to be, is a prostitute, 40 years of age, with a track record, a history, and basically, he thought he was having -- not expecting what he got.”
Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy said the bail was set because of the serious charges against Romero:
- Attempted first-degree murder
- Attempted second-degree murder
- Assault in the first- and second-degree
- Reckless endangerment
- Theft of the victim’s cellphone.
The victim posing as a woman doesn't change that, McCarthy said.
“The allegation is a violent attack with a knife,” he said. “Misrepresentation of any type does not justify that level of violence.”