Panhandler's remarks may have led to slaying Police are seeking help in finding killer BALTIMORE CITY

September 08, 1993|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

A Baltimore panhandler slain on July 25 while soliciting for change was apparently killed because he made a rude comment to a man who refused to give him money, and police are asking for help in finding the killer.

Benjamin Chapman Jr., 37, had a reputation for being rude to those who didn't give him a handout, and that is the most likely reason his attacker stabbed him to death, police said.

"It was not a robbery, and we don't believe the suspect knew the victim. It seems to be a case of the panhandler just saying the wrong thing and paying for it with his life," said Detective Gene Constantine of the city homicide unit.

Mr. Chapman was panhandling near a downtown parking lot at Redwood and South streets when he was stabbed once in the heart.

His assailant was walking with a woman when he encountered Mr. Chapman. The investigation has failed to turn up the identities of the woman or the killer, Detective Constantine said, adding that the woman faces charges as an accomplice because she has failed to come forward.

The stabbing was witnessed by about a half-dozen out-of-state tourists who had come to Baltimore to visit the Inner Harbor.

None of the tourists heard what Mr. Chapman said to his attacker, police said.

But a few of the tourists said Mr. Chapman had made nasty remarks to them when they ignored his requests for money, police said.

The assailant is described as black, in his late 30s, between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a heavyset build, broad shoulders, a round face and dark skin. He wore dark shorts and a blue and white striped shirt, police said.

The woman is black, in her late 20s, and about 5 feet 4 inches tall. She is heavyset with a dark complexion; she wore white shorts, a white top and had her hair pulled up.

Anyone with any information about the pair is asked to call the homicide unit at 396-2100 or Metro Crimestoppers at 276-8888; a $1,000 reward is offered.

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