Jailed murderer charged in '87 slaying Convict is accused of killing the owner of an Essex towing company.

September 20, 1991|By Alisa Samuels | By Alisa Samuels,Evening Sun Staff Larry Carson and Richard Irwin contributed to this story.

Baltimore County police have charged a 37-year-old convicted murderer, who is now in prison, with the August 1987 slaying of William E. Eiler, the owner of an Essex towing company.

James Edward Prince, serving a sentence of life without parole at the Maryland Penitentiary for an unrelated murder conviction, was charged yesterday in Towson with first-degree murder in the slaying of Eiler, police said. Prince was arrested about 10:30 a.m. yesterday at the prison.

After his arrest, Prince was taken before a District Court commissioner in Baltimore County, who ordered him held without bail. Police said the bail review was a formality since Prince already is incarcerated.

After the hearing, Prince was returned to the prison.

Through his friendships with politicians and police, Eiler dominated the towing industry in eastern Baltimore County for years. He ownedthe Eastern Garage on Eastern Boulevard.

About 3 a.m. Aug. 24, 1987, Eiler, 58, was shot in the chest as he walked to his home in the 1200 block of Damsel Road in Essex, police said. He staggered to the back porch and banged on the door to awaken his wife and stepson. He died a short time later at Franklin Square Hospital. The bullet had pierced his heart.

Eiler had more than $1,000 on him but police discounted robbery as a motive in the shooting.

Yesterday, without elaboration, police said they had physical evidence linking Prince, a former auto mechanic, to the fatal shooting.

"We don't have any motive for it," said E. Jay Miller, county police spokesman. "The motive remains a mystery to us. We just know he had been a former employee of Eiler's and he was a suspect in the investigation."

Just before the slaying, Eiler and Prince had gotten into a fight and Eiler had fired Prince, police said.

Four months after Eiler was killed, Prince, of Dundalk, was charged with murdering a 55-year-old baby-sitter as she cared for two children in a home on South Marlyn Avenue in Essex. The victim was a mother of 10.

On Dec. 18, 1987, Anita Grace Baugher, of the 900 block of Homberg Ave., was shot four times in the face with a .357-caliber Magnum and her throat was slit, police said. The children slept through the attack.

The motive was burglary, police said, because Prince knew several guns were in the house.

Prince was sentenced in October 1988 to life without parole. He also received consecutive sentences of 20 years for robbery, 20 years for burglary and 20 years for use of a handgun in the commission of a felony.

At the time of the Baugher slaying, Prince was on probation for malicious burning and arson of his home after he found his wife in the arms of his best friend.

Prince also had numerous burglary charges.

At Prince's trial, his mother testified that he had been abused sexually and physically as a child.

Although it took four years to charge someone with Eiler's killing, Miller said, the case hadn't been filed away and remained active.

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