WEST COUNTY--Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

July 28, 1993

Cleanup ordered of burned house

A Circuit Court judge granted a court order yesterday allowing county crews to bulldoze the charred remains of an Odenton house burned in December that health officials say is a safety hazard.

Judge Lawrence H. Rushworth granted county attorneys an injunction to allow for the demolition and cleanup of remains of the home of Robert J. Groseclose at 1218 Brietwert Ave. A health official testified that the remains are hazardous and that Mr. Groseclose has ignored cleanup orders.

Mr. Groseclose, who shared the home with his mother and two children, was charged with arson of a dwelling and arson to defraud an in surance company in the Dec. 23 fire. His trial is set for Aug. 17.

Deborah Laird, a supervising sanitarian for the county health department, said a wooden beam and a chimney appeared to be in danger of collapse when she last inspected the property July 21. There is no fence around the property, and the open pit that was the basement poses a potential danger to children or curious passers-by, she said.

Mr. Groseclose's attorney, Jeff Tapper, said his client was restrained from cleaning up the site because of concerns by attorneys in the criminal case about destruction of evidence. He said Mr. Groseclose obtained approval to do cleanup work about a month ago and has spent about $2,000 cleaning up the site in the past two weeks.

Mr. Tapper said he's concerned that the county will hire a contractor that will cost Mr. Groseclose more than if he did the work himself.

Neighbors have complained to county officials that the property has attracted rodents, that they suffer breathing problems because of the smell from the charred debris, and that the site poses safety problems for children.

Cleanup work is expected to begin in the next few days, county officials said.

Landover man, 41, charged with rape

A Washington, D.C., woman told police that a man beat and raped her in a Laurel motel room early yesterday morning.

Investigators said the woman and a man were staying at the Motel Six on Route 198 at 1:59 a.m. when the man allegedly began beating her after she refused to perform a sex act.

The man is accused of grabbing her by the throat, hitting her and trying to choke her with a metal coat hanger, the police report said. The hotel manager knocked on the door when he heard the woman scream. When the man let him inside, the woman told him the man was trying to kill her, police said. The manager called police.

Richard Edward Thomas, 41, of the 7500 block of Twining Court in Landover was charged with assault with intent to murder and rape.

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