Woman, 3-year-old son had been strangled, autopsies show

March 15, 1994|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Western Maryland Bureau of The Sun

FREDERICK -- Autopsies yesterday determined that a woman and her 3-year-old son, whose bodies were found Sunday, had been strangled, police said.

The slayings were this city's third and fourth homicides this year. Earlier this month, two elderly men were slain and police arrested a suspect in those slayings.

"Four deaths are enough. Prior to this, we were lucky to average three homicides a year," Police Lt. John Fraley said. "These four deaths are not related in any way but this is pretty unusual for us."

Andre Sewell found the bodies of his girlfriend Susan J. Kester, 24, and her son, Jacob Irwin Tribbett, in separate rooms in the home all three shared in Stewart Manor Apartments on Motter Avenue, police said early Sunday.

In the earlier slayings, police arrested Daren Edward Witmer, 24, of Frederick, on March 6 and charged him with first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to rob, robbery, burglary and theft in both cases. He is being held without bond in Frederick County Adult Detention Center.

Mr. Witmer allegedly used a sidewalk ice chipper to kill William C. McSherry Jr., 78, in the victim's apartment on East Second Street downtown on March 4, police said.

Police also charged Mr. Witmer in the death of Owen D. Wilson, 83, who was found injured on Feb. 28 in his apartment on West Key Parkway. He had been struck several times with a blunt object and died of his injuries on March 1.

Lieutenant Fraley said robbery was the motive in the slayings of the two elderly men, who lived alone.

Some members of Mr. Witmer's family were doing housework for Mr. Wilson, police said.

Lieutenant Fraley said Mr. Witmer confessed to both murders and a series of burglaries in the city and Frederick County.

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