Baltimore recorded its third and fourth homicides of the new year yesterday when a 52-year-old woman was found bludgeoned to death in her Northwest Baltimore home, and a man was stabbed to death during an argument in West Baltimore.
The body of Melva D. Gohleston, a contract employee of the state Department of Education, was found on the kitchen floor of her home in the 4000 block of Garrison Boulevard just before 10 a.m. by a fellow employee who had gone to check on her after she failed to appear for work, said Dennis S. Hill, a police spokesman.
Ms. Gohleston's modest brick home had been ransacked, police investigators said, and robbery may have been the motive.
Detectives said they were uncertain what the murder weapon was.
"She may have been hit with a number of sharp objects," said homicide Detective Danny W. Shea. Among the possible murder weapons was a shovel found near the body.
The fourth homicide was a stabbing in a second-floor apartment in the 800 block of Harlem Avenue in West Baltimore about 8:40 p.m. Walter Phillips, 36, who lived at the address, was in the apartment with an acquaintance when an argument began, police said.
Mr. Phillips was stabbed in the chest at least three times, and the acquaintance ran from the apartment, police said. Mr. Phillips was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center where he was pronounced dead shortly after 9 p.m.
Darrell Williams, 33, of the 1200 block of McCulloh Street was arrested in the yard behind the building with a bloody knife in his pocket, police said. He was charged with first-degree murder and possession of a deadly weapon.
The discovery of Ms. Gohleston's body and the stabbing of Mr. Phillips came just two days after Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, alarmed at the killings in 1990, pledged to find ways to lower the number of homicides.
Last year, 305 people were murdered in Baltimore -- 43 more than in 1989. But 1991 is off to a similar start to 1990's. In the first two days of 1990, four people were killed.
The first victim of 1991 was 60-year-old Daisy R. Hill, shot to death during a gathering in her home in West Baltimore at 11 a.m. New Year's Day. A man who lived in the same house as Ms. Hill has been charged with first-degree murder.
The second victim was 30-year-old Angelo Evans Jr. of the 1700 block of East 33rd Street, who was shot to death while standing in the 2700 block of Kennedy Avenue in Northeast Baltimore talking with a man and a woman.
Witnesses said they heard a shot, saw the victim fall, and the couple, a man in his 30s and a woman in her 20s, run off. Mr. Evans died from a gunshot wound to the chest.
The police said they have no suspects in that killing, which occurred just before midnight Tuesday, or that of Ms. Gohleston, who was last seen alive about 3 p.m. Sunday.
Neighbors said they did not hear any commotion from the house, where Ms. Gohleston had lived alone for about eight years.
Yesterday, Fred L. McMillian, who had lived in the neighborhood just north of Forest Park for 30 years, remembered Ms. Gohleston as a "really lovely woman who never bothered anyone."
Mr. McMillian said he was surprised to hear of the violence.
'It's really a pretty nice neighborhood," he said. "There's some drugs here, but it's everywhere."
Mr. Hill, the police spokesman, said that Ms. Gohleston's colleague called the police when she arrived at the house and saw the front door had been left ajar. The police said there was no evidence of forced entry, and though the house had been lTC ransacked, it was unknown whether anything had been taken, the spokesman said.