More could be charged in city slaying

February 24, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

A story in yesterday's editions of The Sun incorrectl identified Matthew August Balaz Sr., who was arrested Monday in Carroll County and charged as an accessory in the shooting death of Gregory Lamont Howard. The error was based on information from the Westminster City Police.

The Sun regrets the errors.

Westminster City Police said yesterday that more people could be charged in connection with the shooting death of Gregory Lamont Howard, the Westminster man killed last month on South Center Street.

Police arrested Matthew August Balaz Jr., 25, of the 2400 block of Sandymount Road, late Monday on two charges of being an accessory after the fact for his alleged role in disposing of the weapon used in the slaying.


"There is the possibility of others being charged in connection with the incident," said Lt. Dean Brewer, who is investigating the case. "The case is still being investigated and there could be more indictments."

Police have charged three men in the homicide: Timothy Cumberland and Daniel Justin Leonard, both 23, of Reisterstown, and Samuel Allen Miller, 22, of Owings Mills.

Mr. Howard, 22, was fatally shot on Jan. 28 after Mr. Cumberland, Mr. Miller and Mr. Leonard went back to a South Center Street corner where they allegedly had bought laundry detergent, believing it to be $40 worth of crack cocaine.

Mr. Howard was killed by a shotgun blast as he walked toward the car, police said.

Authorities said the victim was not involved in that drug transaction.

According to documents filed in Carroll District Court, Robin Cherry, who was in the vehicle at the time of the slaying, told city police that Mr. Balaz had been with her, Mr. Cumberland, Mr. Leonard, Mr. Miller and two other friends at Champs Restaurant on West Main Street shortly before the shooting.

Ms. Cherry identified the others as Vicki Bryant and Kevin Ogle, the documents said. Ms. Bryant and Mr. Ogle had not been charged in the case.

When Ms. Cherry and the three men charged in the homicide returned to the bar after the shooting, they told Mr. Balaz about it, she said. Then Mr. Balaz and Mr. Cumberland went outside and transferred the shotgun from Mr. Leonard's car to the trunk of Mr. Balaz' 1986 Mazda, Ms. Cherry told police.

Ms. Cherry said she and Mr. Cumberland spent the night at the Westminster apartment Mr. Balaz shared with Ms. Bryant. The ** next morning, Mr. Ogle came to the apartment, and he and Mr. Balaz left in Mr. Balaz's car.

Mr. Balaz told Ms. Cherry that the gun "was gone" when he and Mr. Ogle returned 30 minutes later, Ms. Cherry told police.

After Mr. Balaz' arrest, he was taken to the Carroll County Detention Center. He is being held there on $25,000 bail.

Ms. Cherry has not been charged.

Mr. Cumberland faces charges of first- and second-degree murder, manslaughter, conspiracy to commit murder and reckless endangerment.

Mr. Miller, who police believe fired the shotgun, was charged with first- and second-degree murder, manslaughter, reckless endangerment by discharging a shotgun, and assault and battery.

Mr. Leonard was charged with being an accessory before and after the fact, and with assault and battery.

Mr. Balaz could spend up to 10 years in prison if he is convicted.

A bail review hearing was scheduled for him today.

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