A Baltimore man and his girlfriend were being held without bail yesterday on charges that they killed an elderly Sparks man who had let the couple into his home after they told him that their car had broken down nearby, police said.
Thomas E. Crawford, 31, of the 5100 block of Ardmore Way, was being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center after his arrest Saturday. Cynthia Lee Levering, 28, who has an address in Essex but has been living with Mr. Crawford, was in custody at the Northpoint Precinct lockup in Baltimore County.
Police said the couple had been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Harold L. Webb, 75, a retired contractor, and with the attempted murder of Mr. Webb's wife, Joann H. Webb, 66.
The two were arraigned yesterday before a District Court commissioner, who ordered them held without bail.
The Webbs were attacked about 1 a.m. Friday after Mr. Webb heard a knock at his door. When he answered, police said, a couple told him that their car had broken down and asked if they could use his telephone.
Mr. Webb, who was known to have extended the courtesy to other strangers without incident, invited the couple into his foyer. Mrs. Webb got them a portable telephone.
But, Mrs. Webb told police, the man acted strangely as he tried to dial the telephone and began to reach into his jacket. She
struck the man with the telephone and chased him. He fired several shots at her -- damaging her nightgown -- and then fled the house.
When Mrs. Webb returned to the foyer, she found her husband on the ground with several gunshot wounds. Paramedics
pronounced him dead at the scene.
E. Jay Miller, a Baltimore County Police spokesman, said an informant gave police a tip that led to the arrests of Mr. Crawford and Ms. Levering. He also said physical evidence linked the suspects to the crime scene, but he refused to elaborate.
"We don't want to do anything that would prejudice the investigation," said Mr. Miller, who added that the motive for the shooting appeared to be robbery.
He said police suspect that the Webbs may have been targeted by their assailants.
Police said they had Mr. Crawford, an unemployed drywall installer, and Ms. Levering, a painter, under surveillance for several hours before their arrest. They were apprehended without incident about 8 p.m. Saturday at the corner of Frankfort Avenue and Belair Road when they got out of their vehicle to go into a store, according to police.
Mr. Miller said no weapons were recovered at the time of the arrest, but he declined to say whether any had been recovered at the suspects' home.