Saturday, January 21, 2006

January 21

There have been (at least) 18 murders so far in 2006.

James Lydell RayThirty-four-year-old James Lydell Ray went on a shooting rampage, killing a 12-year-old girl and wounding his 15 and 16-year-old sons and his girlfriend. And he's on the loose, police are seeking a 2005 Black Elantra with the license plate 2BCP57. (Note to JZ, there is no Shirwood Avenue in Baltimore.)

Deaontae Fleming, 16, was arrested and charged as an adult for attempted murder (of whom it doesn't say).

There's nothing safe about the suburbs:
James Rivers Jr., 20, of Essex, was shot to death after confronting two suspicious men on his property.

A four-year-old boy was hit by a stray bullet in Columbia.

There are a lot of break-ins and robberies in the news from the Northwestern burbs, and a cluster of street robberies in Owings Mills.

Restraining orders and peace orders are becoming ever-more popular.

Friday, January 20, 2006

January 20

raymondsmootThe family of Raymond Smoot (left), an inmate beaten to death by guards at Central Booking, is suing the State for $130 million.

Reporters, mark your calendars, photographers, shine your kneepads: an arraignment date has been scheduled for dirty flex cops Jemini Jones, Steven Hately, and Brian Shaffer at February 15, 2006 9:30 a.m. before Judge Lynn Stewart. (O'Malley makes a point: the arrests are a sign that he and Hamm are doing their jobs.)

Gentrification will be all that's spreading after Chubbies gentleman's club sells its Adult Entertainment license back to the city.

A judge has ruled MD's anti-homo-marriage statute unconstitutional. Ehrlich is pleading "for both parties to come together to protect traditional marriage" and a delegate Don Dwyer (who appears to represent people from the Glen Burnie/ Severna Park area) wants the House to try to pass a constitutional amendment.

Speaking of Senators (and though we don't like to be political, legislators make laws, and laws make criminals who commit the crimes of which we blog), I finally found a map of Maryland districts that's easy to use. I'm very happy to hear that Paul Sarbanes' son John P. is running in the 3rd so the former ABC-2 reporter Andy Barth isn't unopposed.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

January 19

Reports the Catholic Reporter in an article about how "blighted" Baltimore is, in 2005 there was a weekly average of five murders, 14 shootings, 72 robberies, 116 aggravated assaults, 107 burglaries, 299 larcenies, 119 auto thefts, 340 misdemeanor narcotics arrests, and 105 felony narcotics arrests.

SSQ mall murder suspect Brian K. Rose was arrested.

In Harford County, Frank Rainey, who admitted to killing Crystal Busta three months after they met on the Internet, will serve a life sentence. He also admitted to three other murders in DC. Yikes.

Millersville meth-making marrieds Michael and Sheila Beil face four criminal methamphetamine possession and intent-to-distribute counts.

Police are seeking a late 90's burgundy Dodge minivan with plates that say "BARK 68"-something in connection with the Jan. 9 hit-and-run of Antionio Martinez on I-95.

A 40-year-old man was wounded by police in East Baltimore during the response to an armed robbery.

Dept. of Bad Sex:

Kristopher Reinhard, 16, died of stab wounds following a fight which may have "stemmed from unflattering remarks about a girl."

Graphic details about exactly what Warren Brown's client Jemini Jones is accused of doing to a 22-year-old woman in an office in the Southwestern (Brown: "She's a big fat liar.") Meanwhile, two members of the flex squad had been "flagged" as potential bad apples in 2003. Here's more on the investigation against Vicki Mengel.

If a Maryland corrections officer settles for $250,000, it'll be one of the largest sexual harrassment settlements in MD history (and boy did this woman deserve it).

There is a such thing as too many of the wrong kind of details in a news story. For example, this BAL story about a women's studies professor charged with prostitution. (Is it necessary to specify "personal" lubricant?) The Sun story is just so much richer: we learn Brandy owned pot-bellied pigs, liked to garden in a bikini, worked on a task force with KK Townsend, and claimed her husband tried to cut ther throat.

In Sykesville, a retired middle school teacher was arrested for having child pornography on his state-issued laptop.

Ehrlich to gays: civil rights on your deathbeds... but not a minute sooner!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

January 18

Go-getter U.S. (Federal) Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein plans to expand the local office of the prosecutor. During last fiscal year his office brought 565 criminal cases, up from 490. Interesting paragraph: "Mr. Rosenstein and Mayor Martin O'Malley had planned for the city to give $200,000 directly to federal prosecutors to go after criminals who use firearms to commit crimes. But Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia Jessamy threatened to recall a city prosecutor assigned to the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the plan was abandoned."

The CP talks 2005 homicide by the numbers and reports the murder clearance rate at 55 percent.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

2005 in Review: Happy First Birthday, Bcrime!

Two-double-oh-five... we learned so much. I started the blog to try to answer a basic question: how safe are you in Baltimore City? At the end of the project the conclusion is: it depends on who you are.

(Police claim that) 90 percent of murder victims have criminal histories, with an average of eight arrests each. And almost all of the victims are male, and the majority are African-American and young. If you're a female not involved in the drug trade, you don't have much to worry much about, unless you have a jealous spouse, violent boyfriend, stalker friend-of-a-neighbor (see Linda Trinh), or encounter a drunk driver.

If you're a male, don't buy, sell or use the white drugs and stay away from the drink, barfights and other people's wives and girlfriends, stay alert to your surroundings and don't talk to or provoke strangers. And everyone should stay extra observant in mall parking lots (or shop Hampden). These simple rules will keep you safe much of the time. But the thrill of Baltimore living is that there are always roving wild cards of death: the bad babysitter, the serial mugger/rapist, the burglar or nurse who preys on the elderly, the speeding cop car. So while you may be safe most of the time, you're never safe all of the time, no matter what your demographic. And what the hell, sooner or later death comes for all Baltimoreans.

meloAnyhoo, we kicked off 2005 with a 26 murders in the first 20 days of the year, and Marcus Brown was promoted to Deputy. But it was Baltimorean-cum-Nugget Carmelo Anthony who scored biggest in the 01-05. His cameo in the notorious Stop Snitchin led to endorsements with Nike and Hallmark cards.

In February, Dontee Stokes, represented by Warren Brown, became an international hero for the victims of Catholic-priest-predators when pedophile Maurice Blackwell was convicted. But the victory was short-lived. Judges ruled that a witness' reference to other victims warranted a new trial, Jessamy refused to grant one, and Roussey, now head of the police union, said he believed the state's attorney's office had been looking for a way to avoid prosecuting Blackwell ever since Stokes came forward 13 years ago. The FBI released stats showing that Baltimore has the highest rate of bank robberies in the nation: more than double the rate of the second-most-bank-robbed city, L.A. And the blog got its first regular reader, plucky former Southwestern student (now a Towson U. student, I think,) Chris Bilal!

elserMarch kicked off with the start of the drug-kingpin trial of William Nicholson. Nine months later, Nicholson got a three-year sentence. Police officially filed the murder of Hopkins student and South Carolina native Chris Elser, left, under "cold." 50 cent released a song in which "Baltimore" was synonymous with "heroin." The blog added another regular customer, Jay.

Bacchusbycaravaggio And the blog's most searched-for story to date, and certainly the most unusual of the year, broke in March: that's the girl-on-girl psych-doctal-student on psych-doctal-student case of Natasha Bacchus, strangled by her (possibly lesbian) friend Melissa B. Harton after a night of drinking exactly one week before Bacchanalia.

In April an 11-year-old boy was arrested for dealing heroin, revealing the disturbing trend of drug gangs using juveniles for their dirty work. Donta Allen was indicted for murdering Hopkins student Linda Trinh, and two students were grazed with gunfire at Bowie state. O'Malley made Time magazine's "Five Best Mayors" list under the unfortunate banner Wonk N' Roller. The Baltimore police were sued for $30 million for shooting a 30-year-old man in the back. This great site summarizes the year's Maryland police misconduct news. The witness intimidation bill passed. In Annapolis, a midshipman fell from a window --the second incident in three years. Unregistered sex offender Kenneth Barnes was caught in Roland Park, spurring new vows of anti-perv measures from local top brass.

May: Monique Baldwin got 25 years for her role in the beating death of 12-year old Nicole Townes and five years for the abuse of her sister, Brenda Bailey, 11. Kenya Keene, 25, who delayed calling an ambulance, got six years. Former mom Monalisa Mackey pled guilty to killing her 18-month-old daughter Alicia. Ed Norris was working at a soap store in a Florida mall, and six officers were placed on leave after the death of inmate Raymond Smoot. Two policemen were accused of robbing drug dealers and selling the drugs themselves. Says
... a federal grand jury indicted Officers William King, 35, of Baltimore, and Antonio Murray, 34, of Abingdon. The five-count indictment alleges that the officers took part in alleged conspiracy to rob drug dealers of their drugs and money beginning last August to the present. Prosecutors said authorities had also bugged the officers' police car. They said that in those recorded conversations, the two officers allegedly asked drug dealers how much money and drugs they had on supply. Miller reported prosecutors' claims that the officers told drug dealers they wouldn't face arrest or prosecution so long as they kept supplying the drugs. In one case, prosecutors said, the officers sold drugs to an FBI agent.

June brought the death of Samuel Richardson, shot while walking with his girlfriend near the Rendez-Vous.
Ross Talp was convicted of killing his mother.
Allegations of police misconduct were rife: cop Brent Allen Gates was accused of stealing $1,400 from a man during a traffic stop, and Gregory Mussmacher was convicted for assault and miconduct after beating up a handcuffed, shacked juvenile. At the Dept. of Corrections, secretary Mary Ann Saar said everything was going fine, even after officer Sherman Lawrence was charged with conspiring to help prison inmates shank a peer. Employee complaints about foul and unhealthy conditions in the ancient Mitchell Courthouse and problems at Central Booking were met with silence from government officials.

In July the FBI released stats showing violent crime up in Baltimore by 4.2 percent, and the Post published a story called "Maryland reports surplus of $1 billion." Attorney General Joe Curran refused to join in a lawsuit with the City (and his son-in-law) against the state over the conditions at Central Booking, and squarely blamed the police. He also got a threatening note written on a clipped obituray of dead businessman Robert Clay.

The case of the three beheaded Mexican children seemed to point to snakeheads, but DNA pointed to the children's uncle.

In August, Commissioner Hamm's daughter Nicole Sisker was outed as a steetwalking addict. Albert G. Antonelli of Queenstown got just three years for auto manslaughter for a hit-and-run on Route 50 that killed officer Duke G. Aaron III. Trial began for the accused murderers of William Bassett, the St. Paul's dean shot in the Towson Town Center mall parking lot. A man tied up traffic around BWI after he kidnapped a woman in Arbutus. Somebody named "tif" objected to the term Big Black Rapist. On the last day of August, the Espinoza/Canela trial ended in a hung jury.

In September, the State rejected Death Row inmate Vernon Evans Jr.'s claims of racial and geographic bias (a death warrant was recently issued for Feb. 6). Seventy-nine year old Lydia Wingfield was murdered, and CP reported: "Wingfield is the third African-American women to be asphyxiated this year. All three women were over 60 years old and found at home, but the Baltimore Police Department does not believe the homicides are connected." (Turns out they were, of course).

Transit police and federal agents have made 23 arrests of people selling prescription drugs at transit stations.mchavezWPPolice dogs started getting sick, and by the end of the year, five had died mysteriously. Two Baltimore judges in separate rulings said they don't believe the police officers who investigated gun cases, prompting prosecutors to dismiss charges. And we were joined by a new Jay... a self-labeled-conservative then going by the nom de blog Publius.

In October, accusations of "ethical breaches" in Ehrlich's officescott huffineshit the fan. First there was the Joe Steffan "Prince of Darkness" thing. Then, the Sun (and Scott Huffines) reported employees testifying about right-wing thought police firing people who weren't "Republican" enough.

Artist Myron "Terry" Koenig was killed and his house was set on fire in Waverly. Antoine Adams, 32, got life in prison for his third killing, Penelope Medina. Three people escaped from Central Booking in one week, and galt started ranting.

In November, Fletcher Worrell, 58, has been implicated by DNA in at least 24 unsolved rapes in Maryland and New Jersey. A probation officer, Yolanda Johnson, got 18 months in prison for extorting money from the cons she was supposed to be supervising. Ehrlich signed the death warrant for Wesley Baker. In the largest gambling raid in decades, police arrested 80 people at the Owl's Nest near Camden Yards. Authorities seized more than $25,000 in cash and cases of illegal liquor, then dismissed charges (but netted at least one officer from the Southwestern). And Alvin Kotz, 70, got three years for running a gambling operation out of Timpano's Italian Chop House in Rockville. And Liz's husband was arrested for littering-- never mind that Booking and Intake has been operating at 135 % capacity. And we were joined by team member Chuck!

As December began there were still no leads on the murder of Jeryl Singleterry, the kidnapping victim who was found dead after his family paid over $10,000 in ransom. A West Baltimore grandmother was tied up, her son stabbed and her Christmas tree set on fire by three home invaders. The wife of police officer David A. Williamson tried to pawn jewelry stolen from jewelry thieves who had been stopped by her husband. Serial killer Raymond Hopewell was caught, ans so was serial rapist Reginald Williams. Officers Leslie Holiday and Adam Vasquez were shot to death.

And the year ended with an official 269 murders, though only 137 were reported by the preliminary FBI crime stats.

January 17

The FBI is asking the public to help track down Lamont "Jamar" Jones and Javon Brewer, the latter of whom has a distinctive tattoo of a man lamping at Baltimore & Gilmor {sic}.

The murder trial of Tamall Parker, 19, and Tracy Love, 21, is scheduled to begin 9:30a.m. tomorrow before Judge Sylvester Cox. The Baltimore City Grand Jury indicted Parker and Love for first-degree murder November 23, 2004 for the shooting death of James Wise, Jr., 30. Court documents allege that on October 13, 2004 Parker and Love shot Mr. Wise 13 times in the 1000 block of Bonaparte Ave.

"Mickey" Hughes, wanted for beating a toddler and put him in scalding water, turned herself in. Not answered: why his mom was living in the Towson Ramada Inn and going to work at 10 p.m.,

Baltimore police identified Jose Mendoza, 40, as the employee shot dead duting a robbery the restaurant La Bahia (not Baha).

A Baltimore City jury convicted Martinez Brown, 26, of the 2300 block of East Chase Street, for the first-degree murder of Kelvin Knight, 18, and sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. tomorrow. The jury also convicted Brown of use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence. In the early morning hours of December 7, 2003 the victim, Kelvin Knight, was ordering take-out from New Land Chinese Carry Out at the corner of Montford and Biddle Streets in East Baltimore when he observed Brown arguing with a woman. Upon hearing the victim laugh, Brown turned to the victim and said, "Do you think I am playing?" He then pulled out a handgun, put it to the victim's forehead, and shot him three times in the head and once in the chest. As Brown ran from the scene after the murder, an eyewitness disabled him by striking him with his car, thereby allowing police to arrest him at the scene. Another eyewitness identified him at the scene.

What was Darnell Brown involved with before he was shot and left dead on the campus of Saint John's college in Annapolis?

Monday, January 16, 2006

January 16

Hamm: officers will now get rotated out of special units in three years, because that's "the amount of time that helps stop corruption from coming in."

Hagerstown prison's on lockdown after a fight in the yard sent four inmates to the hospital.

A 38-year-old inmate died of a heart attack at the Corrections Center in Glen Burnie. Also in AAC, four generic-sounding robbers on the loose.

Two unidentified men were shot to death in East Baltimore on Friday night, an unidentified man died early yesterday morning after being beaten in West Baltimore on Saturday afternoon, an unidentified man was fatally shot in West Baltimore yesterday afternoon, and a restaurant worker in the Southeastern's Greektown neighborhood was killed when seven people robbed Restaurante La Baha on Sunday night.

A heartwarming MLKJr.'s day tale: the real-life Penny and Seaweed! Shirley Billy got locked up in the Pines Street Jail for Women for having a halfie baby. Her mom bailed her out, she challenged Maryland's miscegenation laws, and she and her husband have now been married for 50 years.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

January 15

What the ?!?!! The only word for the story out of the Southwestern is unfuckinggddamnedbelievable! Scores of city police officers were up to everything, and I do mean everything. Sex in offices with prisoners, stashing drugs on people, stealing cell phones .. a mind-blowing 375 cases will have to be thrown out. Only a handful of officers will be prosecuted by the city for the drug charges, the rest of the cops face federal charges because you can't have a cop testifying against a cop. So RJ's the knocker now... and maybe the bust at the Owl's Nest was not all total BS after all.

Graham D. Buckmaster, 57, was captured in the Cumberland gap. He was wanted for shooting his ex-girlfriend, Lisa Moore, to death, on New Year's Eve .

A woman was shot during a robbery at the Salvo Auto Parts in Woodlawn.

A man's body was found near a mysterious fire at an Essex used-car dealership.

Good news, ladies! The Sun says that even if Roe is overturned, we'll always have legal 'borshuns in our state.

And at my mysteries; take your revenge.
Thus as he spake, he made o'er earth and sky
To spread a fiery blaze of awful light.
Silence was in the heavens, in the green glen
Not a leaf whispered, and all beasts were still.

Stop the presses: a 17-year-old girl bought a beer at the Fuddrucker's in Columbia.