Baltimore's Violent Drug Scene Leapfrogs To Odenton

April 24, 1991|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

The violent side to Baltimore's drug culture landed practically in Bill Johnson's back yard last weekend.

Now the Odenton resident is concerned that the crime he hoped to escape when he moved to Anne Arundel from Curtis Bay two months ago is following him.

"I was watching the police from a hill," he said. "I said, 'Man, they've got a body in there.' Then they had another body. Next thing I knew, they pulled a third out. I said, 'OK, time to sell the house.' We wanted to get out of the city because of that."

It was Mondayafternoon that Baltimore police made the gruesome discovery: the bodies of two men and a teen-age boy wrapped in rugs and blankets about 100 yards off Lokus Road in a debris-strewn field near Route 175.

"(The police) were lined up all the way back here," said Johnson, wholives in the 1800 block of Lamonte Avenue with his wife, Dianne, andtheir four children. The field is across the street and the bodies were found about one-quarter-mile from his house.

Police say the victims had been part of a drug deal that went bad in a Baltimore row house. The incident also led to the shooting death of a fourth man, Marvin Odell Willis III, 25, whose body was found Sunday afternoon in the house, in the 400 block of Yale Avenue.

While investigating that killing, homicide detectives found evidence that indicated other people may have been killed in the house, such as blood stains and bullet casings.

Ricardo Burks, of the 400 block South Augusta Avenue in Baltimore, has been charged with killing Willis. He was arrested Monday morning when police broke down an Elkridge motel room door and rescued an Owings Mills couple the man apparentlyhad abducted.

Police say Willis and Burks, who also has been charged with kidnapping, bought crack cocaine from the three victims, then shot and stabbed them during a dispute over the quality of the drugs.

After dumping the three bodies in Odenton, the men went back to Yale Avenue, where they started to argue. Willis' bullet-ridden body was found Sunday afternoon in the dining room by his girlfriend. Baltimore police say Burks also will be charged with first-degree murder today in the three other deaths.

The bodies found in Odenton were identified as DerrickLamonte Newman, 19, and his half-brother, Charles Jefferson Jr., 18,both of the 5800 block of Royal Oak Avenue in Woodlawn; and their cousin, Joseph Christopher Austin, 15, of the first block of Walden OakCourt in Woodlawn.

City police spokesman Dennis Hill said Willis chose the Odenton site to dump the bodies because he used to work fora nearby trucking firm and knew the secluded area. "He had passed that location," Hill said. "If you want to leave bodies there for a while, it was a good place to do it."

But it was not a good place forJohnson and other residents. "It has never happened in this area," said Marilynn Doll, who has lived in the 1800 block of Bucklina for 13years. "It's a real quiet area. We like our property. It's a very wooded and secluded area."

Doll said the sight of police removing the bodies from the field has unsettled residents. "We are not worried.We are all being more cautious," she said. "We all know the neighbors. We know who all the children are and where they are going. We are a tight-knit community."

Johnson said Monday's discovery brought back images of his old neighborhood. "It wasn't that good," he said. "I came out here to get away from it -- to get my kids in a good school. I guess you ain't going to get away from it."

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