Cleaning man charged in murder of clerk Suspect held without bail, police won't tell where.

June 05, 1991|By Richard Irwin and Alisa Samuels | Richard Irwin and Alisa Samuels,Evening Sun Staff

A 27-year-old maintenance man, charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of a sales clerk, is being held without bail at an undisclosed location.

A police spokesman said last night the lockup where accused slayer Robert Patrick Lipinski, of the first block of Oakwood Road Dundalk, is being held will not be revealed to the public.

"We have our reasons to withhold the location where the suspect is being detained and where today's bail review hearing will be held," said spokesman E. Jay Miller.

Miller admitted the move was unusual.

At about 3:30 p.m. yesterday at headquarters in Towson, police charged Lipinski with murder in the stabbing death of Gina Courtalis, 22, of the 4200 block of Darnall Road in Perry Hall.

Courtalis' body was found early Sunday in a rear file room of the Nutri-System Weight Loss Center at the Towson Marketplace in the 1200 block of Putty Hill Ave., police said. She had multiple stab wounds in her back.

Miller said Lipinski, who is married and the father of three small children, arrived at police headquarters yesterday afternoon for an appointment to be interviewed about the slaying.

"After the interview," Miller said, "he was charged with first-degree murder."

Miller said evidence that he wouldn't reveal had led to the charge against Lipinski, who worked for the past 6 months for Genie Cleaning Services, a private firm on Gateswood Road in Timonium that cleans shopping malls and other businesses.

From police headquarters, the 5-foot, 8-inch, 150-pound Lipinski appeared before a District Court commissioner,who ordered him held without bail, police said.

Following the bail hearing, Lipinski was jailed at an undisclosed location, Miller said.

Miller said Lipinski was among several people questioned Sunday and yesterday about the Courtalis slaying. He said that homicide detectives learned more information about the man that led them to question him again yesterday.

Miller said Lipinski worked Saturday and that the Nutri-System outlet was one of the places at the Towson Marketplace that he was assigned to clean.

He said there was no evidence that Courtalis and Lipinski knew each other or had ever met. But the two apparently argued Saturday.

"We think he lost his temper," said Miller. "We know that he and his wife were to be evicted [from their home] soon and that he had personal and financial problems that may have overwhelmed him."

Miller said a knife now in police custody may or may not be the murder weapon.

"We still have the results of tests to look at before we'll know for certain if the knife was used in the slaying," he said.

He declined to describe the knife or say how police came to possess it.

Courtalis, a sales clerk at the weight loss center, was to close the store between 1:30 and 3 p.m. Saturday, police said. When she failed to return home, her mother called police.

When an officer arrived at the center early Sunday, members of )) the victim's family were already there. Despite the officer's urging that they stay outside the store, they went inside and were present when Courtalis' body was found.

Funeral services for Courtalis will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 2504 Cub Hill Road. Interment will follow in the church cemetery.

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