Man held in death of dealer's son Suspect lived near golf course where body of victim was found

September 13, 1990|By Frank D. Roylance and William Talbott | Frank D. Roylance and William Talbott,Evening Sun Staff

Baltimore police have charged a 27-year-old northwest Baltimore man with the strangulation death last month of Donald A. Williams, whose nude body was found near the 10th tee of Forest Park Golf Course.

Williams, 29, of the 2800 block of Norfolk Ave., was the son of convicted Baltimore drug kingpin "Little Melvin" Williams, who is now in a federal prison in Minnesota.

Police said today they arrested Terry Copeland at his home in the 5000 block of Hampshire Ave., just a block and a half from the course's 10th tee.

Copeland was charged with first-degree murder and robbery and held at the Central District lockup pending a bail review hearing today.

Donald Williams' body was discovered at dawn on Aug. 27, after a man searching for lost golf balls reported to course officials that he had seen blood and drag marks on a golf cart path.

A course employee investigated, and found the body in a wooded area, about 25 feet off the cart path and 300 feet from the tee.

Sunglasses, a belt and blue tennis shoes were found nearby. A search of the woods later turned up more clothing, police said.

Police said Donald Williams had been beaten and strangled hours before his body was found.

His father, Melvin, 48, is serving a 35-year federal sentence for drug distribution.

Melvin Williams was a central figure in Baltimore's heroin industry in the 1960s, and prosecutors said he rebuilt his trade to gross more than $1 million a day after his parole from federal prison in 1979.

Melvin Williams was arrested again in 1984, tried, and convicted. He has been housed at the Federal Bureau of Prisons Medical Center in Rochester, Minn., since June 26.

John Chreno, the warden's executive assistant, said Melvin Williams was not released to attend his son's funeral Aug. 31.

Although the Rochester facility has a variety of medical, substance abuse and psychiatric programs, Chreno said Williams is there as part of the general prison population of 850 inmates.

"He is here as a prisoner serving his sentence, as opposed to a patient," Chreno said.

He suggested, but could not confirm, that Williams was sent to Rochester because of overcrowding at other federal prisons, including the federal penitentiary at Petersburg, Va., where Williams had been held. He will become eligible for parole on Dec. 4, 1992.

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