An Annapolis man has been charged with the rape and murder last January of an Arnold woman, for whom he had worked as a handyman.
Albert Gustav Givens, 37, of the 100 block of Roselawn Road, was arrested and charged late Friday with the stabbing death of Marlene "Pat" Kilpatrick sometime between 11 p.m. Jan. 1 and 7 a.m. Jan. 2.
"It's a relief, but it's kind of a shock," said Charles Hoffman, 70, a close friend of Mrs. Kilpatrick. "He's a good friend of her son."
Mr. Givens had been hired by Mrs. Kilpatrick to paint the outside of her house and to do yardwork. Mr. Hoffman said he had worked inside the house while Mr. Givens worked outside, and he detected nothing sinister about him at that time. "He seemed OK. We worked together there for almost two months. I was working inside, he was working out. We had lunch together."
Mrs. Kilpatrick, 55, was retired from the Anne Arundel County Board of Realtors since 1985, when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Despite her illness, Mrs. Kilpatrick was an active volunteer in soup kitchens, the Anne Arundel County public libraries and driving for the disabled. "She was a fighter. She was an inspiration to me," Mr. Hoffman said.
Mrs. Kilpatrick's body was found by her daughter, who went to her mother's house in the 100 block of Church Road after telephone calls went unanswered. She found her mother's body in a back bedroom, with a knife embedded in her chest. Although there appeared to have been a violent struggle before Mrs. Kilpatrick's killing, there were no signs of forced entry into the house, leading police to suspect she knew her killer.
Police said Mr. Givens, who was a handyman who had done work on Mrs. Kilpatrick's house many times, was developed as a suspect early on in the investigation. "He was in her ring of friends, acquaintances she would have opened the door for, because he had done handywork for her in the past," said Officer Terry Robey, a spokeswoman for the Anne Arundel County police department.
The pace of the investigation picked up after police released a sketch more than a month ago of a man seen by several witnesses getting out of Mrs. Kilpatrick's dark red 1983 Mercury Cougar at 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 2 in the parking lot of a hardware store at McKenzie Road and Ritchie Highway in Severna Park. Her car was found there by police after her murder.
Police believe the suspect drove Mrs. Kilpatrick's car to the hardware store after her murder. They believe he called a cab from a pay phone there and rode the cab to Jones Station Road, around the corner from Mrs. Kilpatrick's home.
Mr. Givens reportedly matched witnesses' description of a white male, 5 feet 10 inches tall and 220 pounds, in his late 20s or early 30s with blond hair.
Detectives learned during their investigation that Mr. Givens had allegedly made sexual advances toward Mrs. Kilpatrick, which she had spurned.
Mr. Givens was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree sexual assault. He was being held at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center last night with no bond. His bail status will be reviewed tomorrow in District Court.