Suspect in W.Va. slaying due hearing here

May 13, 1991|By Kelly Gilbert | Kelly Gilbert,Evening Sun Staff

A federal judge in Baltimore has set a detention hearing tomorrow for a Kentucky State University student who is accused of kidnapping and slaying a Kentucky car salesman whose body was found in West Virginia.

Ronald Anthony Brown, 29, of Frankfort, Ky., is being held in Baltimore City Jail pending the detention hearing on federal charges of interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle and a .22-caliber Beretta pistol.

The FBI arrested Brown Thursday night after he appeared at his girlfriend's home in Fort Meade, about 12 hours after a salesman and a 1990 Toyota Camry disappeared from a car dealership in Frankfort.

Brown is awaiting extradition to West Virginia on a murder charge. Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter M. Semel said Brown also faces kidnapping and car theft charges in Kentucky.

The body of the salesman, John H. Putman Jr., 26, was found Friday near Fellowsville, W.Va., according to Gary Shaver, a dispatcher for the Preston County (W.Va.) Sheriff's Department.

Semel said he received word only 20 minutes before Brown was to make an initial appearance Friday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore that West Virginia authorities had found the salesman's body.

FBI Agent J. Kent Cameron said in a court affidavit that he and another agent arrested Brown Thursday night outside the home of Kelita Elkey, in the 3500 block of Burr Court, Fort Meade, as the suspect stood behind a Toyota Camry that bore Kentucky license tags.

Cameron said the agents found "apparent fresh blood stains and a bloody, frothy substance" in the car trunk, along with a loaded .22-caliber Beretta.

The agents also found a checkbook and numerous blank checks that allegedly had been stolen from the home of another man in Frankfort.

The affidavit said Brown's mother, Janet Brown, had told Frankfort police that she believed her son had stolen a car to drive to Maryland to visit his girlfriend.

A woman the FBI identified as Dana Haggy told authorities in Kentucky that Brown told her he planned to steal a car and kidnap and kill someone.

The FBI said Putman left the Frankfort Toyota dealership about 9:30 a.m. Thursday in the company of a man who had asked to take a test drive. Putman and the car apparently were reported missing at 5 p.m. that day.

Putman apparently was struck with a blunt object and his body was thrown over a hillside, said Preston County Sheriff Jim Fields said.

At Semel's request, Chief Magistrate Judge Clarence E. Goetz ordered Brown jailed without bail Friday pending tomorrow's detention hearing.

A Pre-Trial Services officer told Goetz that Brown needed psychiatric treatment and that he had tried to commit suicide last October.

Brown also is under indictment in Franklin County, Ky., and free on recognizance bond, on charges tied to the March 15 theft of another Toyota Camry from a Frankfort car dealership. He was arrested in Annapolis his that case, authorities said.

Other sources said Brown had been acquitted May 6 of second-degree assault in Kentucky, in a case in which he had stood accused of having pulled a six-inch knife on another man.

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