Mother and daughter, 13, slain 2nd daughter, 10, injured in Reservoir Hill attack

September 23, 1993|By Michael James and Roger Twigg | Michael James and Roger Twigg,Staff Writers

A mother and her 13-year-old daughter were slain and another daughter, 10, critically injured by a killer who bludgeoned and stabbed them in their Reservoir Hill apartment, Baltimore police said.

Cynthia D. Gilliam, 30, and her daughters, Donnette D. Smith, 13, and Jacqueline D. Parker, 10, were attacked Tuesday night or yesterday morning in their basement apartment in the Georgian Court complex, police said.

A cousin of Ms. Gilliam went to visit the family just before 9 a.m. yesterday and entered after finding the door ajar. Inside, the relative found Ms. Gilliam lying dead on the living room floor in her night clothes, police said.

Both children, also wearing night clothes, were found lying on a bed in a nearby room, police said.

Donnette was pronounced dead at the scene. Jacqueline was listed in critical but stable condition last night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

"What kind of a monster would do this? It has to be a crazy person. To attack a mother and her babies, to slaughter them like that, that's got to be a crazy, evil person," said Monica Hardy, 27, a stepsister to Ms. Gilliam. "He didn't have to take their lives like that."

Ms. Hardy and other residents in the area said the Georgian Court complex, in the 2500 block of Linden Ave., is in a drug- and crime-ridden area. But they said they think the killer was not a robber, but an acquaintance of Ms. Gilliam's.

"She had a lot of different boyfriends. It seems like she was always having problems on and off with someone," said Bobby Carter, 32, who was a close friend of Ms. Gilliam. "But even if it was an angry boyfriend, why did he have to kill the kids? It's got to be some kind of a fool."

Mr. Carter said Ms. Gilliam was a secretary but didn't make much money and had trouble supporting her children as a single parent. He said she often seemed depressed about not finding a man to move in with the family.

Police said they had no suspects in the case.

Sam Ringgold, a police spokesman, said that a broken windowpane was found at the side of the apartment but that it was doubtful that window was used as a point of entry by the killer.

Investigators said it does not appear that forced entry was used to get into the home.

Once inside, they said, the killer apparently fought with at least one of the victims.

"There were signs in the apartment of a struggle," Mr. Ringgold said. "A vase was broken, and a table was knocked over."

No possible murder weapons had been recovered, Mr. Ringgold said.

Police said they are investigating whether Ms. Gilliam and Donnette were sexually assaulted. A test at the hospital concluded that Jacqueline had not been sexually attacked, they said.

The last time any of the victims was seen alive apparently was on Tuesday afternoon, when a neighbor reported seeing one of the daughters.

A neighbor who lives at nearby Lakeside Apartments said her 10-year-old daughter and Jacqueline are good friends. "They go to school together. I'm waiting for my daughter to come home from school now; I don't know how I'm going to explain this to her," said the woman, who declined to give her name.

The slayings were the second and third in Reservoir Hill in the last three days. Maurice Ward, 24, was gunned down Tuesday evening while roller skating in the 2400 block of Brookfield Ave., police said.

Police said there have been 256 homicides in Baltimore this year, compared with 240 at this time last year.

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