City police officer charged in slaying Female victim, 22, claimed in suit that officer had fathered her child

January 13, 1993|By Michael James and Richard Irwin | Michael James and Richard Irwin,Staff Writers Staff writer Robert Erlandson contributed to this article.

A Baltimore police officer has been charged in the slaying of city woman who was suing him over paternity of her son.

Sgt. James A. Kulbicki, 36, a nine-year veteran assigned to the Northwestern District, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder by Baltimore County police about 8:15 p.m., said E. Jay Miller, a county police spokesman.

Court records charging Sergeant Kulbicki allege the officer had been increasingly violent to the victim, 22-year-old Gina Marie Nueslein.

Several days ago, Ms. Nueslein told her boss at work that she "probably would end up with a bullet in her head from Jimmy" Kulbicki, court records said.

Ms. Nueslein, of the 3300 block of Ramona Ave., was found dead from a gunshot wound in her head Sunday morning in a remote section of Gunpowder Falls State Park in eastern Baltimore County. Police said they believe that she was killed elsewhere and that her body was dumped in the park.

Investigators found bullet fragments and blood stains in Sergeant Kulbicki's black 1988 Ford pickup truck, which -- along with his pistol and car -- was confiscated Monday morning, police said. A tire track found at the scene matched the truck's, court records said.

They also found a jacket at Mr. Kulbicki's Southeast Baltimore home, in the 3400 block of Toone St., that had blood -- believed to be Ms. Nueslein's -- splattered on the sleeve, court records said.

Sergeant Kulbicki, who was promoted to sergeant in October, was quickly listed among the suspects because of his romantic relationship with the victim, police said.

In September, Ms. Nueslein filed the petition in Baltimore Circuit Court asking a judge to declare Sergeant Kulbicki to be the father of her 16-month-old son. A judge ordered blood tests for the officer and baby to determine if he was, in fact, the father. A hearing was to have taken place in court this morning.

According to court records, two genetic tests were completed, both of which showed with certainty that Sergeant Kulbicki was the father of the child.

But in interviews with police investigators in recent days, he denied ever having sex with Ms. Nueslein and said he gave no credence to the genetic tests, court records said.

Ms. Nueslein told family, friends and relatives that Sergeant Kulbicki had been growing increasingly angry about not only the paternity suit, but also the possibility of her dating other men, court records said.

She told her father recently that Sergeant Kulbicki appeared to be trying to avoid the paternity hearing and that she was becoming nervous that he might attempt to do something about the court records said.

Ms. Nueslein also told a friend that on Jan. 7, the officer gave her a ride to work at a Royal Farm store six blocks from her home. She told him that "she did not want him," court records said; she claimed the officer then started choking her and that she was forced to run away.

She also told others that the officer threatened to shoot her if he ever found her with another man, and at one point stated, "If I can't have you, no one can," court records said.

Ms. Nueslein left home to walk to work about 3:30 p.m. Saturday, but never arrived. Her parents reported her missing that evening and the following morning, a park ranger found her body in a wooded area at the end of Graces Quarters Road in the park.

Police questioned the officer for several hours Sunday and confiscated his vehicles and weapons found at his home. Sergeant Kulbicki's police powers were suspended and he was placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

Last night, county police told Sergeant Kulbicki he could go to Towson police headquarters to retrieve his pickup truck, Mr. Miller said. Mr. Kulbicki was en route to the station when officers pulled him over and arrested him, he said.

Sergeant Kulbicki told police he last saw Ms. Nueslein on Friday and did not attempt to go see her on Saturday, court records said.

But Ms. Nueslein's father said his daughter had told him the officer seemed intent on giving her a ride to work Saturday, the court records said. She said the officer asked her several times how she was getting a ride, the records said.

City police officials were upset with news of the arrest, still reeling from a record-setting year for homicide in 1992 as well as recent criticism leveled against the police commissioner by two council members.

"Obviously, it's not a good day," said city police spokesman Sam Ringgold. "It just sort of shocks everybody, not just the department."

A hearing is expected to be conducted today to determine if the accused officer will be suspended from duty, Mr. Ringgold said. He said he was unaware of any severe disciplinary problems in Sergeant Kulbicki's departmental personnel file.

Kulbicki was being held without bail last night at the Baltimore County Detention Center.

In their Northeast Baltimore living room last night, Ms. Nueslein's family watched television reports intently and cried aloud when the officer was shown in handcuffs.

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