Bail Hearing Set For This Week

Man Accused Of Slaying Sleeping Wife Remains At Detention Center

December 23, 1990|By Maria Archangelo | Maria Archangelo,Staff writer

MOUNT AIRY - A bail hearing is expected to be conducted this week for Edwin F. Downs Jr., a 30-year-old Wind Ridge Road resident charged with shooting and killing his wife as she lay sleeping early Wednesday morning.

Downs, a deliveryman for the Washington Post in Montgomery County, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, using a handgun in the commission of a felony and battery. He is being held without bail at the Carroll County Detention Center pending the hearing.

Anne Rita Downs, 30, was found dead at 4 a.m. Wednesday in the second-floor master bedroom of the couple's two-story colonial home in the Candice Estates housing development.

State troopers went to the home after the husband called Montgomery County police from his car phone and told them he was afraid his wife was in danger, police reports said.

Downs told police he was delivering newspapers in Gaithersburg on Route 27 near Brink Road in Montgomery County, when a black Chevrolet Camaro drove up beside him and one of the car's two occupants pointed a silver-barreled rifle out the window and shot twice at his vehicle.

Later, he told police he believed the men who shot at him could have been the same ones he saw pointing a gun at a woman in Washington on Monday, police reports said.

Because of the incident on Route 27, he said, he was concerned about the safety of his wife and children.

Montgomery County police alerted state police in Westminster, and Trooper Ronald Diggs went to the home to check on the family.

Court records said that the couple's 8-year-old son, Tony, answered the door and told the trooper that he "tried to wake his Mommy but she wouldn't wake up."

Diggs found Anne Downs in her bed with blankets and pillows covering most of her body.

Assistant Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. David Welliver came to the home and determined that Anne Downs had been shot around midnight once in the back of the head. A pillow had been placed over the handgun before it was fired, court records show.

Tony, and the couple's two younger children -- Jeff, 4, and Rebecca, 7 months -- were asleep at the time of the shooting and were not harmed, state police said.

State police investigators from the Westminster barracks went to Montgomery County police headquarters later in the morning to interview the husband. Downs told them he last saw his wife alive at 2:30 a.m. when he lay down beside her and talked to her before he left for work, court records show.

After several hours of interviewing Downs, troopers arrested him, read him his rights and he asked for an attorney. After a public defender from Montgomery County arrived, Downs was taken to the Westminster barracks and charged with the homicide.

After the arrest, the Downs' children were placed in the custody of their paternal grandparents who live in New Market, Frederick County.

On the way to the Westminster barracks, Downs told police that he "wished he could start the day over and that some innocent people got hurt," court records show.

Police had not established a motive for the shooting as of late Friday.

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