Saturday, December 31, 2011

Justice Delayed

It has been more than five years after the murder of CO David McGuinn at the Maryland House of Correction. Jury selection in the trial of the first of his two alleged killers begins Tuesday* in Anne Arundel County.

Friday, December 30, 2011

'I don’t think there’s anything about which
I will ever be more grateful'

Have you seen these two, wanted for attempted armed robbery on the Light Rail? (Left, via WBAL)

Robberies galore in the southeast and coats for the homeless stolen in the southern, reports the Baltimore Guide

Last week's four murders recapped in the Ink. Says O'Malley of the drop in the murder toll this year, "I don’t think there’s anything about which I will ever be more grateful in public service."

The WaPo follows up on the case following the killing of U of MD student Justin DeSha-Overcash

Police backtrack on the whole "prosecutors are stalling and hindering our cases" thing

Two "doctors" (can you call them doctors if they lost their licenses to practice?) are facing murder charges under Maryland's "viable fetus" law after two botched abortions. The women lived.

Nathan A. Chapman Jr., once a prominent man about town, is now a man about a halfway house*

Hellz yes, tax giveaways need more scrutiny

The FBI says gun sales are up

The Tribune Co. bankruptcy case will lurch on until at least this summer with hearings not starting until May. In better news, the judge has reversed himself, deciding that Zell won't be in line for a bankruptcy payout after all.

Drugs are bad for you

Three suspected heroin overdose deaths in two days in Harford County.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Tweets Fenton, "Shooting at 2800 W Garrison is a homicide."

UPDATE: Fenton says the 31-year-old victim was killed when he fought back during the course of a home-invasion robbery*.

a friend of mine was also burgled yesterday in Endor Gadrens-- had her door kicked in in the middle of the day; thieves took her kids' Christmas presents. Sigh.

Have you seen...

this guy? He's wanted for questioning in reference to the December 9th triple-shooting near Club Envy in the 1800 block of Maryland Ave.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The year in crime, torts and general bad behavior

It's the end of the year, which means it's a fine time to recap some of the most notable civil- and criminal-law stories of the past 12 months:

10. Conaways in the crossfire: Frank Conaway Senior kept his position as clerk of the court again, but there was still bad news aplenty for the family: Belinda lost her city council seat to Nick Mosby after Adam Meister revealed she was claiming a tax credit illegally, TDR revealed a laundry list of problems at the Clerk's office, and Frank Senior got in hot water for brandishing a firearm with an expired permit in front of his house. And Frank Conaway Jr.'s book's sales rank slipped to #4,104,807th on Amazon.

9. Tow-mageddon: 17 officers charged with extortion in a dirty towing scheme. As Jayne Miller's source said, "it's not the crime of the century, but it's not pretty."

8. It got a little harder to rape somebody. The Sun's Justin Fenton uncovered the unsavory fact that the city has the nation's highest level of rape cases deemed "unfounded"*. And, finally, the FBI changed the definition of "rape" to include male victims, penetrations sans penis and non-forcible rapes.

7. For whatever reason, this was the year an exceptionlly high number of dirty political chickens came home to roost in MD: Paul Shurick, Jack Johnson, Tiffany Alston, Richard Stewart of the redistricting committee and Belinda C. all felt karma's bitter sting.

6. The Brew attacks! Rapacious newsroom cuts by the Sun's evil gnomish overlord left the local paper of record with scant resources to do the time-consuming, ass-pain investigative pieces necessary to uncover pork, malfeasance and sketchy government dealings. Stephen Janis' defection from Investigate Voice to join the Fox news team left another news hole. But fortunately for us all, the Baltimore Brew stepped into the breach, uncovering the mayor's plan to stealthily privatize rec centers, explaining the little acronyms like TIF and PILOT that let city officials grant breaks to their developer pals, and the high price of settling police misconduct lawsuits. What they cover is just a fraction of what could use delving into, but hey, it's something.

5. It gets better-ish. The arc of the moral universe is long and full of dings, dents, and crack-crazed seagulls, but it eventually, slowly bends towards not sucking as much. So it went this year for the state's gay and transgender citizens. In spite of the Senate passing the gay marriage bill, it died in the House. In March, Tyra Trent was murdered, and in April, Chrissy Polis had the tar beaten out of her at McDonald's. But it is now possible for a baby to have two mommies on a birth certificate (if said mommies married elsewhere), and starting next month, Baltimore county employees who were married in other states can receive same-sex benefits.

4. Phylicia Barnes, a 16-year-old honor student, went missing December 28 of 2010, and a long, pitiful search by police and family ensued-- one so desperate, police were taking tips from Cham. Barnes' beauty, youth, apparent innocence and mysterious disappearance seemed a perfect fit for Natalie-Holloway-level national hysteria and hand-wringing, but Barnes was apparently not blonde enough* for the national media, which ignored her case until Anthony Guglieimi shamed producers into briefly spotlighting her disappearance. Barnes' body was found in April in the Susquehanna, the medical examiner ruled her death a homicide, but still, no one's been arrested yet.

3. Mayhem at the Select Lounge. Chaos reigned at West Franklin and N. Paca on January 9: 42 shots fired, Officer William Torbit Jr. and reveler Sean Gamble killed, four citizens hit with bullets. But after an eight-month independent investigation, no charges were filed, no changes were made to BPD procedures, and FHB III concluded that officers "acted reasonably."*

2. Baltimore swore in a new prosecutor, Gregg Bernstein, who was promptly never heard from again. To be fair, press releases have finally started trickling out in the past few months, and as promised, office staffers did get their BlackBerries and the do-not-call list was abolished*. But it's uncertain if the office is actually more functional than Jessamy's was: in August police complained about prosecutors stalling and "hindering"* cases.

1. Murders, shootings and unclassified deaths are down-- way, way down. From 335 murders in 1993, to 223 last year, to possibly under 200 in 2011, which will make the murder rate lower than it's been since the 1960s. The drop in violent crime is not just a local trend, but a nationwide thing (hellz, crime is even down in Detroit!), and theories abound as to why. Cops having better technology? The right people finally going to jail? Have we "bupe" to thank? We may never know for sure, what whatever it is, we'll take it.

... so what did I miss? ... Fenton posted his top 10 in crime* a little while after I posted this one.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Suspicious Food Containers, Merry Merry Shootings

City Hall was shut down for a little while this morning due to a bomb scare. Turned out it was just a food container and a t-shirt, though the BCPD intelligence section is taking over the investigation now.

A 30-year-old man was shot in the face in the 100 block of South Monroe St. on the 23rd.

Another December 23 shooting, this time in the 400 block of North Rose St. Two people, a man and a woman, were non-fatally shot at around 7:30 pm.

Two people, a 20-year-old and a 26-year-old were shot in the leg on the 24th in Poppleton, specifically the 100 block of North Freemont Ave.

If there weren't a lot of Christmastime homicides this year, it wasn't for a lack of effort. Two more people still were shot in West Baltimore, inthe 700 block of West Lexington St.

Finally, an arrest has been made in the Woodlawn stabbing death of Kevin Regusters. Registered sex offender George Robert Evans Jr , 35, was charged with first degree murder on Dec. 22 for his role in the stabbing death.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Aw geeze

A murder Christmas Eve brings the toll to 195. A moment of thanks and appreciation to the dedicated and selfless officers, EMTS, firefighters and medical examiners who work on Christmas.