Suspect held in real estate agent's killing

December 23, 1993|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

A suspect in the rape and murder of a real estate agent in a West Baltimore house she was showing was arrested last night in Danville, Ill.

Police said Kenny Lamont Brooks, 21, who was charged in a warrant with first-degree murder, first-degree rape and robbery with a deadly weapon earlier in the day, had been released from prison in August after serving time for another robbery at a real estate property.

Mr. Brooks, who lived in the 2700 block of St. Paul St., had some of the victim's credit cards in his pockets and was driving her car when he was arrested shortly after 7 p.m. in Danville, according to Baltimore police spokesman Sam Ringgold.

Police alleged that the suspect had been looking at the house as a prospective buyer when he attacked and killed 57-year-old Lynne McCoy, an agent with O'Conor, Piper & Flynn.

She was bludgeoned to death with a heavy antique clothes iron that was a decorative piece in the home she was showing Tuesday in the 800 block of Glen Allen Drive, police said. Her body was found stuffed in an upstairs closet of the two-story red brick home.

After the attack, the killer drove off in Mrs. McCoy's car, a 1993 emerald-green Chrysler New Yorker with Maryland license plates NET 665. That same car was being driven by Mr. Brooks last night when he turned up at the home of a friend in Danville, police said.

"The indications are that he left Baltimore almost immediately after the crime and went out there where he has family members," Mr. Ringgold said. He was arrested by two Illinois state troopers.

Police investigators said they identified the suspect through evidence found at the scene. They declined to comment further.

Mrs. McCoy, who was associated with the real estate firm for 20 years, had given the man a tour of the house around noon, while the homeowners were still inside. A short while later, as the owner and his wife were leaving, the man asked for another look at the second floor, police said.

The owners of the house left for about an hour and returned to find Mrs. McCoy's partially clothed body in the closet, police said.

The prospective buyer was gone and so was Mrs. McCoy's car, police said.

Police said Mrs. McCoy and her potential buyer arrived at the house together in her car. It is unclear where the two had met before driving to the house, Mr. Ringgold said.

lTC Mr. Brooks has a prior criminal record that includes a conviction for robbing a Baltimore-area house that he had "scoped out" after visiting the home with a real estate agent, Mr. Ringgold said. In that earlier incident, Mr. Brooks went to the house with an O'Conor, Piper & Flynn agent and later returned alone to loot the residence, police said.

"He apparently had taken some keys from the house and went back to take several items," Mr. Ringgold said. "The agent was not assaulted in that incident, but it is very similar to what just happened in that he targeted a home through a real estate agent."

Within a month after his release from prison in August, Mr. Brooks was arrested again and charged with auto theft and theft over $300, Baltimore District Court records show. His prior record includes arrests for daytime burglary in July 1992 and March 1991, court records show.

Mrs. McCoy lived in Ten Hills, a community adjacent to Hunting Ridge. She had sold several houses in Hunting Ridge, a quiet, middle-class community where she was well-known.

The murder of one of their own -- especially an experienced agent who was described as very careful -- has struck alarm throughout the real estate community.

Yesterday, Nancy C. Hubble, the president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, issued a statement saying, "Members of the [Board of Realtors] were shocked and horrified to hear of the news of this deplorable act. Unfortunately, we are living in a terribly violent society. However, this type of crime is not indigenous to the real estate industry. It happens in all facets of society."

She added, "It is incumbent upon all citizens to take whatever security measures are necessary to reduce their risk of crime and to cooperate with the police when these unfortunate incidents occur."

The Board of Realtors had offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the killer.

As of last night, the city's homicide total stood at 343 -- eight more than the total for 1992, when the city broke its record for most murders in a single year.

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