12 unsolved slayings leave police looking for answers

February 01, 1994|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Sun Staff Writer

John Lineberger, 60, stabbed in the left leg, bled to death on the floor of his apartment. Lawrence Bruce Anderson, 48, shot in the chest in Essex, sat for hours, leaning against a parked car. A passer-by thought he was drunk.

Janice Stephanie Jones, 24, a young mother, was shot and killed early one morning as she walked to the bus stop. Wade and Susan Finneyfrock, a middle-aged couple, were gunned down at their Essex home when they surprised a burglar.

John and Lorraine Temple, a young Parkville couple, were bound, gagged and killed in their apartment -- killed for no apparent reason.

These unrelated deaths in 1993 have one thing in common: Baltimore County police have yet to solve them.

While the number of murders in the county declined, from 44 in 1992 to 34 last year, the number of unsolved homicides remained the same at 12.

"We have working theories, or suspects that we have no evidence against, on just about all of our cases in '93," said Sgt. Gary Settle of the county homicide unit.

"We feel we understand what happened, how the person died, and who the perpetrator was, but we just don't have enough evidence to prosecute anyone."

Sergeant Settle and his commander, Capt. Rusty Price, say they work unsolved cases indefinitely. They are still working on the six unresolved cases from 1991, 12 from 1992 and some even older cases.

"We work them until every possible lead and every possible clue is exhausted," Sergeant Settle said. "And then we go back and look at them occasionally."

A good example is the case of Frances Kay Snyder. She was 43 when she was beaten to death outside her Relay home on Valentine's Day 1986, but police didn't make an arrest until April 1993.

They charged her husband, William L. Snyder Sr., 52, a used car salesman, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Police concede that as time passes, homicides become harder to solve. Evidence disappears, witnesses move away, and memories cloud.

Some of the 1993 slayings, however, could be just a phone call away from being solved, police said.

The case of John Lineberger is an example. Police went to his apartment after a woman called 911 on Jan. 3, 1993, and said, "He won't let me leave. He's beating me up."

Neighbors reported seeing a woman leaving the apartment just before police arrived, but homicide detectives don't know her name and have been unable to find her.

She is described as a light-complexioned black female, about 5 feet 4 inches tall, 110 pounds, with a pony tail and with acne scars on her face. Anyone who knows her should call 887-2198.

Another puzzle is the case of Wade and Susan Finneyfrock, who were shot to death as they returned to their Essex home about 10 p.m. on Nov. 13. Police say Mr. Finneyfrock, 54, and his wife, 51, apparently surprised a burglar.

Mr. Finneyfrock was found shot to death just inside the door, his wife just outside the house. Neighbors heard the gunshots but neither heard nor saw anyone arriving or leaving the house in the 2300 block of Poplar Drive.

Two guns stolen that night might lead police to the killer or killers. One is a Browning 12-gauge shotgun, serial number 428400. The other is a Black Knight BK-92 black powder rifle, serial number 30011. Anyone with information about the guns is asked to call 887-2198.

Other 1993 cases that have baffled police include:

* Janice Stephanie Jones, 24, of the 100 block of Mountbatten Court in Woodlawn. She was killed a few blocks from her house about 7 a.m. on Oct. 14 as she was walking to catch a bus that would have taken her to a job-training program in Towson. Her mother, who was at her apartment watching Ms. Jones' two children, heard the gunshot that killed her daughter. Police said witnesses saw two teen-agers running from the scene but could provide no better description.

* The execution-style murders of John and Lori Temple in the early morning hours of Dec. 3 at their Parkville apartment in the 4000 block of Marjeff Road, just off Taylor Avenue.

Mr. Temple, 26, and his wife, 22, were bound with duct tape and their throats were cut. Police said they believe the pair were targeted. They said they don't believe drugs were involved because the Temples were a young, hard-working couple with no criminal background.

"We have a theory that we're working under, but I really can't discuss it," Sergeant Settle said.

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