Man held in Harlem Avenue slaying Argument led to stabbing, police say

January 03, 1991|By Richard Irwin and Alisa Samuels | Richard Irwin and Alisa Samuels,Evening Sun Staff

A 33-year-old carpenter was charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of a Harlem Avenue man last night during an argument over a woman, police said.

Darrell Williams, of the 1200 block of McCulloh St., was to appear today at a bail review hearing in District Court, police said.

The slaying of Walter Phillips, 36, of the 800 block of Harlem Ave., was the fourth homicide in the city during the first two days of this year.

In the other homicides, a man and woman were fatally shot and a woman was beaten to death with a shovel.

Homicide Detective David Brown said Williams was arrested shortly after Phillips was stabbed several times in the chest with a knife during an argument inside the victim's apartment.

Brown said the two men got into an argument New Year's Eve over remarks Williams allegedly made concerning Phillips' 19-year-old girlfriend.

"The argument between the two men went on since New Year's Eve and ended last night when Phillips was stabbed to death," said Brown.

Phillips' girlfriend was in his second-floor front apartment when he was stabbed about 8:30 p.m. The suspect immediately fled the scene.

After the stabbing, a resident of the house called the Fire Department, which dispatched an ambulance that rushed Phillips to the Shock-Trauma Unit in Baltimore, where he died at 9:08 p.m., Brown said.

Brown said Officer F. Zapushek, of the Central District, was the first to arrive at the scene and was arranging to transfer the victim's girlfriend and others in the house to police headquarters for interviews when he learned from a young boy that the suspect was in the back yard.

When Zapushek went out the back door, he saw Williams standing in the alley, removing his jacket and hat and throwing them to the ground, Brown said. Zapushek approached the suspect and arrested him without incident.

Zapushek recovered two knives from the suspect, one them bloodstained and believed to be the murder weapon, Brown said.

Williams was taken to the homicide squad where he was formally charged with first-degree murder and using a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony, Brown said.

In the city's third homicide this year, a 52-year-old woman was beaten to death with a shovel, police said.

The body of Melva Gohleston, of the 4000 block of Garrison Blvd., was found about 10 a.m. yesterday in the kitchen of her northwest Baltimore home by a co-worker who became alarmed when Gohleston failed to appear at work or answer her telephone, police said.

When the co-worker arrived at Gohleston's home, the front door was ajar, police said. The victim's fully clothed body was lying on the kitchen floor.

Police said they have no suspect or motive in the slaying.

Neighbors and friends told police that Gohleston lived alone and worked as a secretary for the Maryland Department of Education.

They said she was a member of the Cornerstone Church of Christ on Park Heights Avenue, where she had served as church secretary for almost two decades.

A church trustee said, "She was a very, very nice lady. She was gung-ho about everything she did. She was a professional. She didn't like to waste time."

At one time, Gohleston was the youth choir organist, the trustee said.

Neighbors, who said Gohleston moved to the house on Garrison Boulevard nearly 10 years ago, expressed concern that the slayer was still at large.

"It's a shocking thing," said Helen Saunders, 52, a neighbor. "It's really gotten me upset.

"I'm used to reading about it and hearing about it, but nothing this close to home," Saunders said.

Larry Hightower, 46, another neighbor, said Gohleston was quiet and very pleasant.

"You would seldom see her with visitors," he said. "She played the organ because I heard her practicing a few times."

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