Man, 26, held in slaying

May 21, 1994|By Norris P. West | Norris P. West,Sun Staff Writer

A Waverly man surrendered to police yesterday after being charged in the death of retired Johns Hopkins University professor William H. McClain, who was attacked on the front porch of his Oakenshawe home during a robbery a week ago.

Keith T. Curtis, 26, of the 700 block of Melville Ave. surrendered at the department's Northeastern District shortly after noon, police spokesman Robert W. Weinhold said. He was questioned by homicide detectives and was to appear before a District Court commissioner.

Mr. Curtis is one of two men charged in the death of Dr. McClain, a professor emeritus who was attacked May 14 and died Monday. Police continued to search yesterday for Andre Jose Davis, 21, of the 3700 block of Yolando Road in Baltimore.

Each man was charged yesterday in warrants with first-degree murder, two counts of robbery and one count of assault and battery.

Mr. Davis pleaded guilty Aug. 23 to felony theft and served six months of a four-year sentence. The remaining 3 1/2 years of his sentence were suspended.

Dr. McClain, who was 77, taught at Hopkins from 1953 to 1982, inspiring generations of students with his appreciation of German literature. He was chairman of the German department for 10 years.

He was confronted on the porch of his home in Oakenshawe, an enclave of well-kept rowhouses and gardens a few blocks from Hopkins' Homewood campus. He had just returned from a performance of the Washington Ballet.

When Dr. McClain walked up to his rowhouse with an elderly friend, an assailant demanded the friend's wallet and punched him in the face when he refused, police said. The assailant then punched Dr. McClain in the face, and the force of the blow caused him to fall backward. His head hit the concrete porch floor.

The state medical examiner has ruled Dr. McClain's death a homicide because it was related to injuries suffered during the commission of a felony, police said.

Homicide detectives would not say which of the two suspects they think was responsible for the fatal blow.

Police said Dr. McClain's watch, valued at $150, and his friend's wallet were taken in the attack.

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