The police recovered yesterday the bodies of three teen-agers -- all casualties of a drug deal gone sour -- who were apparently killed in a Southwest Baltimore row house over the weekend and dumped in a debris-strewn lot in rural Odenton.
Investigators were led to the bodies by a 31-year-old Baltimore man who was arrested early yesterday when the police broke down the door of an Elkridge motel room and freed a young couple the man had apparently abducted in an unrelated kidnapping Sunday.
Ricardo Burks of the 400 block of South Augusta Avenue was later charged with murder in the death of a 25-year-old man -- his brother-in-law and alleged partner in the triple slaying -- at a house in the 400 block of Yale Avenue nearby. It was in the basement of that Southwest Baltimore row house that the three other people whose bodies were found in Odenton were also killed, police said.
The three teen-agers were identified as Derrick Lamont Newman, 19, of the 500 block of Royal Oak Avenue; Charles Jefferson Jr., 18, of the same address; and 15-year-old Joseph Christopher Austin of the first block of Walden Oak Court. Detectives said Mr. Newman and Mr. Jefferson were half-brothers.
"It was a bizarre circle of ridiculous killing," said Detective Mark Tomlin of the Baltimore homicide squad. "We were standing out in the middle of this field, looking at three young men who are laying there dead for no good reason."
Detectives attributed the slayings to a prolonged cocaine binge by the suspect and his brother-in-law, Marvin Odell Willis III, whose body was discovered Sunday afternoon at the Yale Avenue house.
The police had been sent to the Yale Avenue house by Mr. Burks' wife, Cynthia Burks, 32, who police said called authorities Sunday to report a murder.
While investigating that case, the police searched the two-story brick row house and found evidence of even more violence -- bloodstained clothing and other personal effects as well as spent shells -- that did not seem connected to the death of Mr. Willis. Moreover, police found evidence indicating that occupants had also been smoking cocaine in the basement of the home.
But it was not until the suspect was arrested early yesterday at the Terrace Motel on Washington Boulevard in Elkridge that investigators said they learned more of what had happened in the quiet, working-class neighborhood.
Detectives said that after they interviewed the suspect yesterday, he directed them to the deserted field along Lokus Road where the three bodies, tied up in an assortment of blankets and carpeting, were found lying next to an abandoned refrigerator just out of view from the road.
The detective said the three victims were likely killed late Friday or early Saturday morning by two men who had been partners in a drug deal involving crack cocaine. Investigators were told that the two men believed the three teen-agers had sold them a "burn bag" of poor quality cocaine.
Mr. Willis apparently succeeded in luring the three into his basement, where an argument escalated into gunfire. The bodies were dumped in Odenton late Saturday, the detective said. After disposing of the three bodies, the two men returned to the Yale Avenue row house and "became involved in another altercation themselves" late Saturday night or early Sunday, Detective Tomlin said. It was then, police allege, that Mr. Willis was killed.
The police said that after leavingYale Avenue, the suspect, for motives that are still not clear, made his way to Owings Mills where he is suspected of kidnapped a young couple in the parking lot of the Sinai Fitness Center on Painters Mill Road about 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
Eric Sean Cada, 24, of the 8300 block of Silver Trumpet Way, Columbia, was dropping off his girlfriend, 22-year-old Kimberly B. Goldscher, of the 2900 block of Fallstaff Road, at her job when a man approached them with two handguns and demanded their money, said E. Jay Miller, a Baltimore County police spokesman. Mr. Cada surrendered $12 and his credit cards; Ms. Goldscher had no money.
At this point, the gunman then forced Ms. Goldscher into the back seat of Mr. Cada's Jeep Cherokee and ordered him to drive to an automatic teller machine at Route 108 and Bendix Road in Elkridge, where he forced Mr. Cada to withdraw $170. The three then drove to a McDonald's Restaurant where the gunman ordered three Egg McMuffins and a cup of coffee.
The gunman then got into the driver's seat and drove the couple south on Interstate 95 to the Virginia Travelers Motel at the King's Dominion amusement park, north of Richmond, where they checked in about noon. They stayed there until 6 p.m.or 7 p.m. Sunday before heading back to Maryland.
Meanwhile, Ms. Goldscher's parents had reported her as missing, and police in Howard County had been able to trace the movements of Mr. Cada through a credit card.
On Sunday night, the three arrived back in Maryland and checked into the Terrace Motel on Washington Boulevard in Elkridge. The credit card company could only tell the police that the card had been used at a motel in the Arbutus-Elkridge area, but police from Baltimore and Howard counties searched until they arrived at the Terrace Motel and found Mr. Cada's Jeep.
The motel manager told police that a young couple had checked in with a man. Officers then forced their way into the room and arrested a sleeping man they identified as Mr. Burks, police said.
In addition to charges in the slaying of his brother-in-law, Mr. Burks, an electrician with a city firm, was charged last night in Baltimore County in the kidnapping of the couple.
No charges had been filed as of last night in the murders of the teen-agers, police said.