2 Coppin students arrested in slaying

March 05, 1994|By Norris P. West and Karen E. Ludwig | Norris P. West and Karen E. Ludwig,Sun Staff Writers

Two Coppin State College students were arrested yesterday in the fatal stabbing of a Morgan State University student in an incident that Baltimore's top police official blamed on a lack of skills needed to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence.

The arrests of the freshman students -- brothers from The Bronx, N.Y., -- shocked the Coppin campus in West Baltimore.

Earl H. Jenkins, associate dean for student development at Coppin State, said the arrests "have got us reeling."

"The college faculty, staff and students are saddened by this incident, and our heart goes out to the families of those involved," Mr. Jenkins said.

Scott Stevenson, 20, and Mark Stevenson, 19, were arrested by homicide detectives about 3 a.m. yesterday in their dormitory room on Coppin's campus in the 2500 block of W. North Ave.

Police said Scott Stevenson was charged with first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder and possession of a deadly weapon in the Feb. 17 fatal stabbing of Sean Jones, 22, a Morgan State University junior, outside the Morgan gymnasium.

Scott Stevenson was being held without bail.

Mark Stevenson was charged with assault with intent to kill and possession of a deadly weapon, police said. He was being held (( on $100,000 bail, and a bail review hearing was set for Monday.

Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier, who held a news conference to announce the arrests, said the stabbings escalated from an argument that began when one of the Coppin students either kicked or hit Mr. Jones' car.

"Because of a failure in conflict-resolution skills, a student of higher learning is dead and two others are in jail," Mr. Frazier said. "This is a situation that says to me we need to be involved in conflict-resolution skill development before [students] get to this age."

Police said the fatal altercation stemmed from a minor incident about 5:30 p.m. Feb. 17 when someone kicked or hit Mr. Jones' Ford Escort as he tried to park on a Morgan lot before attending business classes.

During a verbal exchange, witnesses told police, the other man pulled a knife and threatened Mr. Jones, who left the area.

About two hours later, Mr. Jones, Shanile Shakoor, 20, of the 5200 block of Leith Road, and Marlon Sullivan, 21, of the 5200 block of Loch Raven Blvd., looked for the man who kicked or hit the car.

Outside the Edward P. Hurt gymnasium, the three found the man, who was with several others.

A fight broke out during which Mr. Jones was fatally stabbed in the back and his friends were also stabbed. Police said several people witnessed the fight because a crowd had gathered to attend a comedy show at the school.

Police said the Stevenson brothers were at Morgan State in Northeast Baltimore to attend the show.

In the confusion, police said, the assailants fled, discarding evidence that was later found and given to investigators. Among the evidence was a knife believed to have been used in the assault, police said.

Mild-mannered, popular

Yesterday on the Coppin campus, students described the Stevenson brothers as mild-mannered, friendly and popular.

Royal Howard, a freshman, said the brothers were easygoing.

"Scott is quiet. He goes to classes, goes back to his room and studies, eats something, then goes back to his room and studies some more," said Mr. Howard, 19, a freshman who is in Scott Stevenson's Spanish class. "Mark is very relaxed. Whenever I've see him, he is just laying around reading or something."

"They went to school every day and they worked out with me in the weight room," said Raymond T. Richardson, a sophomore who lives in the Dedmond dormitory, where the brothers shared a suite with four other students. "Both of them were calm, laid-back."

Coley Cole, who roomed with the brothers, described them as typical college students. He said they liked hip-hop music and enjoyed playing video football games late into the night.

Mr. Cole, a sophomore, said nothing appeared unusual when the brothers returned from Morgan on Feb. 17. He said they talked mostly about the concert although they mentioned there was a disturbance but said they didn't know what it was about.

He refused to believe his roommates attacked the Morgan students. "That wasn't what they were about," he said.

'Friendly'

Ani Blanks, a freshman who lives at Dedmond dormitory, said the brothers usually stayed with each other and a small group of friends.

"They were friendly," Ms. Blanks said. "They spoke to everybody."

Officials from Coppin and Morgan, two historically black institutions, said the incident does not reflect any hostility between the schools.

Cassaundra Wilkins, a senior, said her concern was that news of the arrests would give the public a negative perception of Coppin.

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