Man photographed using credit card of slain couple

May 20, 1994|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writers Gregory P. Kane and Peter Hermann contributed to this article.

A security camera at a Glen Burnie bank has captured a picture of a man police say used the credit card of a prominent lawyer hours after he and his wife were shot to death in their waterfront home in Arnold.

Anne Arundel County police combed the East Baltimore neighborhood yesterday where the dark red, 1992 Acura belonging to Julie Noel Gilbert, 48, and her husband Jose E. Trias, 49, was found Tuesday with the keys in the ignition.

The car, stolen from the couple's house in Winchester on the Severn, was found in the 900 block of E. 20th St.

Detectives also showed the picture to Baltimore officers who patrol that area.

The picture, taken by a camera at the Maryland National Bank branch in the Glen Burnie Mall about 9:45 p.m. Sunday, shows a man with large round glasses and a bandanna on his head leaning out the window of a car that police said is an Acura.

The man is described as between 20 and 30 years old with a thin build and some light facial hair. He has an earring in his left ear.

Meanwhile, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, where Mr. Trias was a vice president, offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those responsible for the couple's deaths.

The couple, whose permanent home is in Bethesda, were found naked, face down in their bed, each with a bullet wound from a small caliber gun in the back of the head, about noon Monday.

Police have not recovered the gun used in the slayings, said Officer Randy Bell, a department spokesman.

The state medical examiner determined the two were killed between 9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday, Captain Michael P. Fitzgibbons, head of the Criminal Investigations Division, said yesterday.

The couple used the house in the 1600 block of Father Urban Lane only on weekends. Neighbors told police that Mr. Trias arrived about 3 p.m. Saturday and Ms. Gilbert arrived about 4:30 p.m., Captain Fitzgibbons said.

Police say they believe the slayings were part of a botched robbery attempt and they have developed several theories.

In one, the couple went out to dinner Saturday night and were spotted in their Acura by someone who followed them to the house intending to take the car, Captain Fitzgibbons said.

In another, the killer or killers worked for one of the contractors that had done work on their home and grounds during the past several months. The couple recently built a piano room onto the house and had done extensive renovations, police said.

In a third theory, intruders who did not expect the couple to be there killed them rather than risk being identified.

"This is all just speculation at this point," said Lt. David Shipley, a police spokesman. "They are working hot and heavy on everything and not focusing on any one thing in particular."

"We have to have some assumptions to go on to direct our investigation," said Captain Fitzgibbons.

The two-story house on seven acres was not ransacked and investigators do not know how the intruders got inside, police said. In addition to the credit card and the car, investigators say they believe the thieves took whatever cash the couple had.

Friends of the couple told police they were not known for keeping large amounts of cash on hand.

According to sources close to the investigation, police are puzzled by a handwritten note or sign left in a front window of the home saying the couple had gone on vacation until the end of the month.

Police also have asked the FBI to develop a profile of the killer or killers, Captain Fitzgibbons said.

On Tuesday, police discovered that one of Mr. Trias' credit cards was missing and had been used at the bank machine. They refused to say which card it was.

But the biggest unanswered question is how the suspect got the personal identification number, police said. They do not know if the number was written down or if the couple were forced to reveal it.

Police are asking anyone with information about the slaying or the suspect to call them at 222-3476. All information is confidential.

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