Motorist is charged with murdering wife on highway

January 29, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

A motorist fatally shot his estranged wife on Interstate 95 yesterday, then pulled the car over and surrendered to a state trooper near Elkridge, police said.

Robert L. Hampton, 49, of the 3400 block of Halloway Drive in Upper Marlboro, Prince George's County, was arrested at the scene and taken to the Waterloo barracks, where he was charged early today with first-degree murder and using a handgun in the commission of a felony.

Mr. Hampton was being held at the barracks pending a bail hearing later today at the Howard County District Court in Ellicott City.

His estranged wife, Janet L. Hampton, 46, of the 200 block of N. Fremont St. in Baltimore, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they still were trying to determine when and where on the highway the woman was shot.

Police said the man pulled the woman's 1983 maroon Jaguar over to the median strip to the left of southbound I-95 near the Route 100 overpass in Howard County about 5:10 p.m.

He got out of the car and walked across the highway to two troopers who were checking an abandoned car on the northbound shoulder, police said.

The motorist -- with blood on his hands -- "made a statement . . . and was immediately arrested," said Sgt. Gregory M. Shipley, a state police spokesman, refusing to say what the statement was.

After arresting the man, the trooper went over to the Jaguar and found the woman's body slumped over in the passenger seat, he said.

She was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said they are unsure why the woman was shot.

Police searching the area near where the man stopped the car recovered a handgun believed to be the one used in the shooting.

Minutes before the man pulled the car over, state police had gotten several calls from motorists who reported that a couple appeared to be fighting about 7.5 miles away on southbound I-95 near Caton Avenue, Sergeant Shipley said.

The couple was standing outside the Jaguar in the emergency-stopping lane and appeared to be in a heated argument, motorists told police. Officers were responding to that report when the man pulled the car over at the other location.

Investigators were treating both the Caton Avenue and Route 100 locations as crime scenes.

One lane of traffic was blocked off at both locations, causing a one- to two-mile backup during rush hour.

Police have asked anyone who may have witnessed the argument near Caton Avenue to call the Waterloo barracks at 799-2101.

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