One eviction defeated, but another still looms

November 01, 1992|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

Towanda Capel, a pregnant, 23-year-old mother of four, yesterday defeated Baltimore County efforts to evict her under a law designed to help rid neighborhoods of suspected drug dealers and their accomplices.

But it could be a short-lived victory.

Her apartment managers have their own eviction order calling for her to leave her two-bedroom townhouse in the 100 block of Chestnut St. by Nov. 16.

That eviction order was one reason that Judge Barbara R. Jung (( denied the county's request. Judge Jung also cited the lack of evidence that Ms. Capel was involved in drug dealing.

During Friday's hearing at Dundalk District Court, Ms. Capel's mother, Linda Brown, asked Judge Jung not to order the eviction because her daughter was "ready to deliver any minute," and had no place to go.

Ms. Brown said her daughter's family could not live with her.

Assistant County Attorney Edward F. Seibert urged eviction, basing his request on the rampant drug activity in the neighborhood, and the desire of the community and the management to root out tenants who allow it to continue.

Testimony at the hearing indicated there have been scores of anonymous complaints about drug dealing at the complex.

The hearing was the county's second attempt to use a 1991 law that allows eviction within 72 hours, if a community association, a state's attorney, or a county attorney can show that a house is being used for drug activity.

In July, the county used the law and won the eviction of a 24-year-old Dundalk man who admitted in court that he was a drug dealer.

At Friday's hearing, police testified that they went to Ms. Capel's apartment earlier this month and arrested a man who had a loaded .38 caliber pistol and crack cocaine. Police also said they have been to Ms. Capel's home 30 times since she moved in four years ago.

Ms. Capel said police often came because of fights between her and her former boyfriend, who is the father of two of her children. The man, who she said also is the father of her unborn child, refuses to leave her house when asked. Before he leaves, he damages the place "to get me in trouble," she said. In March, the man fired a shotgun through her back door, police said. No one was injured in that incident.

Ms. Capel told Judge Jung that she didn't know the man arrested in her living room Oct. 7 had a gun or drugs. Police said she pleaded with the man and his companion and told them to produce any narcotics they may have hidden in her house. The man arrested was not her former boyfriend, she said.

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