CPA faces charge in death Man, 50, accused of manslaughter

September 08, 1993|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Staff Writer

An Ellicott City CPA told county police the last time he remembered a 20-year-old woman who was found dead in his home "being awake" was just before he placed a chloroform-soaked rag over her face, court documents show.

Melvin Robert Bowers, 50, of the 2800 block of Southview Road has been charged with manslaughter. Yesterday, Howard District Court Judge Russell Sadler ordered Mr. Bowers to remain at the Detention Center in lieu of $250,000 bail until he speaks with a public defender.

Geneva Marie Hodge of the 300 block of S. Oldham St. in Baltimore was found dead on the floor of the master bedroom Monday afternoon with ligature marks on her wrists, as if she had been tied up in some fashion, court documents show.

A pair of handcuffs were found on a dresser nearby. Ms. Hodge, who was clothed, had a minor cut on her upper lip and a small cut near her nose, police said.

Detectives found a cloth stained with mascara next to a large chloroform container in the bathroom next to the master bedroom.

Chloroform, a toxic liquid used primarily as a solvent or veterinary anesthetic, is known to be fatal if inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin.

"At this time we can't say whether [her death] was sexual in nature," said Cpl. Kevin Costello, a Howard County police spokesman.

The state medical examiner's office was expected to reveal the cause of the woman's death yesterday, but officials say it might be weeks before a toxicology test can determine the cause, police said.

"Based on the results of the autopsy, additional charges could come around," Corporal Costello said.

According to court records, Mr. Bowers told police that he put a chloroform-soaked cloth over Ms. Hodge's nose and mouth sometime Sunday night.

Mr. Bowers told police that he and Ms. Hodge had been involved in a relationship since spring 1992. He told investigators that Ms. Hodge had stayed with him in his Ellicott City home after he picked her up Sunday night in Baltimore, according to court records.

About 3:52 p.m. Monday, county police and fire and rescue rTC personnel responded to Mr. Bowers' call from the house near St. John's Lane. He called police and told them that Ms. Hodge had stopped breathing, saying he had been performing CPR on the victim for two hours.

But medical officials at the scene said Ms. Hodge might have dead for up to 12 hours before their arrival, court records show.

At the bail review hearing early yesterday, the bespectacled certified public accountant asked Judge Sadler about his options.

"What are the hazards of representing myself?" he asked.

The judge read Mr. Bowers a statement of the criminal allegations against him, specifying that the defendant faces up to 10 years in jail for the current charges.

Under the circumstances, I think your should have an attorney," Judge Sadler said. "This is a very serious charge."

Late yesterday, a spokesman for the state public defender's office -- which handles cases for those who can't afford a private attorney -- said the office will provide a lawyer for Mr. Bowers.

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