Woman, convict slain at state pen

June 02, 1993|By Roger Twigg | Roger Twigg,Staff Writer

A convicted murderer in the state's pre-release program for prison inmates fatally shot a woman believed to be his girlfriend this morning at the Maryland Penitentiary and then shot and killed himself, Baltimore police said.

The shooting occurred about 8:40 a.m. in an office trailer used by a wrecking company working at the pen near the prison's main entrance in the 900 block of Forrest St., just northeast of downtown.

The man was identified as Rodney G. Stokes, 41, who was serving a life sentence plus 10 years for a 1975 murder in the city. The woman's name was being withheld while next of kin were notified.

Cpl. J. Scott McCauley, spokesman for the state Division of Corrections, said Stokes had been in the pre-release system since August 1988. Most recently, he had been employed by the street-light section of the city's transportation department and was returning to a halfway house every night.

"He was a model prisoner," said Corporal McCauley. "We had no reason to suspect that he might do something like this."

He was let out of the pre-release center at 7:10 a.m. today, called a cab and went to the penitentiary, Corporal McCauley said. The pen's front gate was open because of a shift change for correctional officers and construction officers were arriving for work and bringing in supplies.

A correctional officer stopped the cab and checked it. Stokes, who was neatly dressed, asked to go to the office trailer of the Wrecking Corp. of America, a private firm tearing down the pen's old South Wing building, the corporal said.

The woman was believed to have been an employee for a construction company doing work at the penitentiary. She was shot twice in the head, the corporal said.

Stokes then put the gun to his own head and pulled the trigger.

The shooting had no effect on security at the penitentiary, police said.

Sam Ringgold, a city police spokesman, said homicide detectives were investigating how and when Stokes got access to the pistol and were trying to establish the exact relationship between the couple.

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