Suspect arrested in 1990 murder Cabbie was killed when gunmen fired at 2 passengers

November 11, 1993|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

The Baltimore homicide unit's "Cold Case Squad" arrested a suspect yesterday in the murder of a 62-year-old cabdriver shot to death three years ago when gunmen riddled his taxi with bullets, trying to kill two of his passengers.

Dontai Turner, 24, a former Coast Guardsman, was arrested at his home in the 300 block of N. Schroeder St. in West Baltimore and charged with first-degree murder and a felony handgun violation, said Detective Kevin Davis of the Cold Case Squad.

Mr. Turner is charged with killing Wilbur S. Glascoe, a Diamond Cab driver from Columbia who was shot in the head Oct. 7, 1990. Two gunmen fired more than 16 shots from a car at Mr. Glascoe's cab near the intersection of West Biddle Street and Maryland Avenue.

The gunmen had intended to kill two passengers in Mr. Glascoe's cab. The motive stemmed from an argument -- "not over drugs, not over weapons, just a plain old argument" -- that the two passengers had been involved in earlier that night in the 1200 block of Harlem Ave., Detective Davis said.

Minutes after the shooting, Mr. Glascoe's nephew -- also a Diamond Cab driver at the time -- arrived at the scene to help the injured driver and learned it was his uncle. The cab's windows had been shot out and the doors were peppered with bullet holes.

Mr. Glascoe died six weeks later at an area hospital.

One of the passengers, Ronnie Mills, 27, of the 2000 block of E. 30th St. suffered a minor gunshot wound and recovered. A female passenger wasn't injured.

Police responding to the scene found bullet casings strewn along the sidewalk and street. Investigators got a tip in the initial days of the investigation that "someone named 'Dontai' was involved and that he was in the military service," Detective Davis said.

A tipster told police that Dontai was probably in the Navy, prompting police to scour Naval records looking for anyone named Dontai who lived in the Maryland region.

But no such person existed and the case hit a roadblock.

The Cold Case Squad, which investigates the city Police Department's old unsolved murder cases, recently reopened the investigation.

Detectives got a description of the vehicle as a red Geo Storm and attempted to find any such automobile registered to a person named Dontai.

When that failed to produce a breakthrough, it was just plain luck that provided detectives with a suspect, police said.

Out of conscience, an informant came forward -- apparently aware that detectives recently had been asking questions about the case -- and provided Dontai's last name as Turner.

The informant also said Dontai was in the Coast Guard, not the Navy, police said.

"That's what will happen sometimes," Detective Davis said. "You just keep working at it and you just need a little bit, and bingo, you get lucky.

"It's the magic wand of the Cold Case Squad."

Mr. Turner, who recently was discharged from the Coast Guard, was being held last night at the Western District lockup without bail.

Detective Davis said the squad is still keeping the case file open and is looking actively for the identities of two other suspects in Mr. Glascoe's murder.

The Cold Case Squad has solved murders more than 10 years old. The squad is made up of Detective Davis and three other investigators.

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