85-year-old man becomes 100th homicide of year Victim stabbed to death in city housing complex

April 17, 1993|By Michael James and Roger Twigg | Michael James and Roger Twigg,Staff Writers

An 85-year-old man who went to his Jehovah's Witness prayer meetings in a wheelchair became Baltimore's 100th homicide victim yesterday when his body was discovered in the same subsidized housing complex where another Jehovah's Witness was murdered in February.

Jack Freeman, who lived in a second-floor apartment of thJohnston Square building in the 500 block of E. Preston St., had been stabbed multiple times in the chest, police said.

Police officers discovered his body on the floor of his apartment about 8:10 a.m. A housekeeper and a maintenance man had called police when Mr. Freeman did not answer his door.

On Feb. 12, Amelia Scott, 58, was found murdered in her first-floor apartment at Johnston Square. She also had been stabbed to death and, as is the case in the Freeman killing, there were no signs of forced entry into her home. No arrest was made, although police said they believe the killer was probably someone who lived in the building.

Police said yesterday that there are similarities in the two slayings, but they added that it was unclear if they are related.

Agent Doug Price, a city police spokesman, said that the killer in both cases had either a key to the building or was admitted through a front door that routinely is kept locked. Residents can open it electronically through a buzzer system.

The seven-story building, which has 224 apartments available under Section 8 housing assistance, is well-kept but is in a high-crime area. For the many elderly residents who live there, the news of the murders is a tremendous shock, said Irvin Parker, 73, the president of the tenants' association.

"It definitely sounds like someone in the building is doing it," he said. "It's mostly old people who live here. But we've got five or six hoodlums who are doing a lot of dirt."

Recently, a young man was found dead in an elevator from a drug overdose, and some elderly women have had their purses snatched as they've walked on the first floor, Mr. Parker said. Mr. Parker, who lives on the same floor as Mr. Freeman did, said he couldn't imagine why anyone would have wanted to kill his neighbor.

"He kept himself neat and clean, and lived simply," Mr. Parkesaid. "The only time I would see him go out was when the Jehovah's Witness people would pick him up and take him to Kingdom Hall for their meetings."

Mr. Parker said several Jehovah's Witnesses live in the building.

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