Rapist charged in revenge plot
Convicted child abuser ordered mom, friend to ‘take care of it’
Dressed in orange prison clothes and wearing shackles, 23-year-old Alex Strange Budd Plowman sat defiantly as Magisterial District Judge Paula Aigner attempted to arraign the convicted child rapist on charges he plotted with his mother and a friend to get revenge against witnesses and the prosecutor at his trial.
“He has no choice but to participate in this arraignment,” an agitated Judge Aigner told his attorney, Theodore Kroll, after Kroll, who was seated next to Plowman in the courtroom, told the judge that Plowman was refusing to speak or answer questions at the proceeding.
Kroll, who defended Plowman at his three-day jury trial on multiple counts of rape of a child and other charges that ended with guilty verdicts on May 3, indicated that he advised Plowman to answer questions so bail could be set, but Plowman was simply not speaking.
“If you want me to set the bail without you answering any of my questions, I will,” Aigner said before telling Plowman his bail would be $250,000 cash. “These are really serious charges.”
Plowman, who remains in Blair County Prison to await a July 10 sentencing on his conviction for raping and assaulting a girl in 2016 and 2017 when she was about 5 years old, is now accused of plotting revenge on the victim’s mother, the woman’s boyfriend, a woman he believes should have testified on his behalf and Assistant District Attorney Nichole Smith, who prosecuted the case.
Charged with Plowman are his mother, 41-year-old Carolyne McNichol, and Plowman’s friend, 23-year-old Larry Walk, both of Altoona.
McNichol and Walk are charged with felony counts of criminal use of a communication device, along with felony criminal conspiracy to retaliate against a witness.
Plowman faces those charges, plus one count each of solicitation to commit homicide, solicitation to commit arson and criminal conspiracy to retaliate against a prosecutor or judicial official.
The investigation started May 5, two days after his conviction, and is based on phone calls Plowman made from Blair County Prison that were monitored by detectives with the Blair County District Attorney’s Office, as well as a letter that Plowman mailed in care of his grandmother that investigators intercepted and say contained instructions to kill the mother of the victim and Smith and burn down their homes.
“You’ve got friends,” Plowman told his mother in a May 7 phone call, according to charges filed Friday. “Take care of it. You have friends, Mom, take care of it. No, seriously, take care of it.”
Plowman’s mother responded, “I hear you,” to which Plowman replied, “Do more than hear me. I can’t take care of it. Someone has to.”
“Mmhmm,” McNichol then said.
According to investigators, Plowman also told his mother, “Make sure some kind of vengeance is taken. I don’t want it to be legal. Not at this point.
“My life is ruined,” he continued. “Ruin theirs. Just take care of it, Mom.”
McNichol is then heard saying, “OK,” investigators allege.
Plowman went on to tell McNichol she needed to take care of it before he got out of prison and warned that even if it was 40 years, he would have to take it upon himself.
“I’m going to do it,” McNichol told her son, investigators noted in the charges.
The next day, on May 8, Plowman called Walk and made comments about a woman who investigators believed was a potential witness for Plowman who didn’t testify on his behalf.
Plowman tells Walk, “I am probably going to hit her with a big rock.”
“It’s true,” he continued. “Should have been a true friend. If you can’t get up there and speak the truth because you’re afraid of losing your household.”
During the call, Plowman talked about a man romantically involved with the mother of the child victim, saying, “Take care of that if you can.”
Plowman is heard talking to Walk more about the man in a recorded phone call from jail on May 9. In that conversation, Plowman again tells Walk to “take care of it.”
“They will never be able to prove it,” Plowman said. “Make sure something happens. Vengeance needs to be sought.”
During the first call to Walk, on May 8, Plowman also tells Walk he is sending him a letter but will mail it to his grandmother since he didn’t know Walk’s address.
“I have a serious mission that I need you to do for me that is explained,” Plowman tells Walk, prompting Walk to say, “All right.”
Working with a U.S. postal inspector and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, that letter was intercepted by the Blair County District Attorney’s Office detectives.
In it, Plowman wrote to Walk by name, instructing him on what to do, Blair County Detective Randy Feathers noted in the affidavit of probable cause.
“Kill them bro, burn the f—ing house down, hurt them,” Plowman wrote.
On a page addressed to “Mum,” Plowman wrote a similar message and used the same pejorative term for a woman that he had used in earlier phone calls when talking about the mother of the child victim in his case, as well as Smith.
Blair County First Assistant District Attorney Pete Weeks thanked the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their assistance in the investigation and stressed that it is imperative law enforcement protect witnesses.
“It is paramount for law enforcement to continue to protect witnesses and victims even after a jury has delivered a conviction,” Weeks said.
Blair County District Attorney Rich Consiglio added that despite public perception, people do want to get involved and help law enforcement when crimes are committed, but if they don’t feel safe, they won’t.
“We cannot let people get intimidated,” Consiglio said. “It’s that simple.”
McNichol and Walk were both released on unsecured $50,000 bonds while her son was remanded to jail to await their preliminary hearing slated for May 29.