Bishop's Garth residents to meet Double murder spurs action

August 10, 1993|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

Residents of the Bishop's Garth apartment complex in Westminster will take the first steps Wednesday night toward forming a neighborhood association in the wake of a double murder that stunned the community 13 days ago.

Some residents are some still smarting under what they see as criticism from Police Chief Sam R. Leppo. They plan to meet with city government officials.

Mayor W. Benjamin Brown told the City Council last night that the session will be at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the apartments, at 99 Charles St.

The bodies of Cathryn B. Farrar, 39, and her friend George "Billy" Wahl of Westminster, 35, were found in her apartment Aug. 2 after neighbors became concerned and called police. Police charged Ms. Farrar's son, Jason A. DeLong, 18, who shared the apartment with her, and Jason's friend Sarah E. Citronia, 17, of Reisterstown, with murder.

Barbara Abel, the tenant who summoned police, said last week that about 45 minutes had elapsed between her call to city police and an officer's arrival. She recalled making the telephone call between 8:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

City police spokesman Lt. Randy Barnes said the call reporting a suspicious odor in Ms. Farrar's apartment came to police at 9:02 p.m. It was dispatched to an officer five minutes later, after he cleared an earlier call for an individual who had suffered a seizure.

Lieutenant Barnes said the officer arrived in about one minute.

Lieutenant Barnes said The Sun would not be permitted to see the dispatch log reporting the times of the calls because, "It's part of the criminal investigation."

Residents also have express anger over Chief Leppo's comment last week that lives might have been saved if neighbors had contacted police earlier.

"I don't like it [the chief's comment] worth a damn," said tenant Marshall Abel. "How in heck were we supposed to know what was going on?"

Chief Leppo commented at a press conference that he had seen news reports indicating that witnesses had seen Mr. DeLong climb in the Farrar apartment window and leave the building with blood on his pants leg. He said those witnesses should have contacted police immediately.

Neighbors said some tenants often climb in through windows because they lose or forget keys, they said.

"The first thing you think of isn't something like this," said tenant Melanie Bartgis.

Beverly A. Clelland, Mr. Wahl's mother, praised the police for their response to the concerns she voiced casually during the early evening of Aug. 2 and for their consideration in breaking the news of her son's death to her.

She said she had been concerned about her son after his employer reported that Mr. Wahl failed to report for work Sunday. But she said she did not contact police because she hoped Mr. Wahl and Ms. Farrar had simply gone away for the weekend.

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