Mother and boyfriend held in girl's death

August 02, 1994|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Sun Staff Writer

A mother and her live-in boyfriend charged with killing the woman's 3-year-old girl were ordered held without bail yesterday as new details about how the child was beaten emerged in court records.

The documents filed yesterday in District Court in Baltimore say the child, Shante Harris, had been abused several times by her mother and boyfriend.

Eric Duane Dorsey, 22, and Darntrell Griffin, 21, of the 800 block of Vine St., were arrested on Friday. Both received bail hearings and were ordered held without bail on charges of first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, child abuse and common assault.

Yesterday, the pair appeared before District Court judges in separate bail review hearings, and their requests for bail were denied.

Witnesses, who were not named in the court files, told homicide detectives that they saw Shante being hit in the abdomen with belts and extension cords on several occasions in the past. They also said the girl had been handcuffed by her feet to chairs or doors.

The state medical examiner's office said over the weekend that Shante died of a head injury, but the court papers say the boyfriend struck Shante in the stomach several times "and the victim stopped breathing."

The boyfriend, according to court documents, "put the victim into a garbage bag and transported the body to Leakin Park, where he carried the body into the woods and discarded the naked child behind a tree."

The Baltimore Department of Social Services had tried to investigate the family on Saturday, July 23.

Spokeswoman Sue Fitzsimmons, said her agency received one complaint alleging child abuse, but a police officer and a social worker were unable to locate anyone at the house when they visited.

Four days later, on Wednesday, the couple reported Shante missing to Baltimore County Police after a shopping trip to the Security Square Mall. Officers searched the mall using dogs and appealed to the media for help locating the child.

Investigators also said they checked surveillance videotapes taken by security cameras in the mall and saw Ms. Griffin and Mr. Dorsey -- but Shante was not with them.

The next day, a witness told Detective Darryl Massey of the city police department's homicide unit that Shante had been abused several times "and felt that the police should further investigate," court records say.

Later that day, Mr. Dorsey and Ms. Griffin were questioned by two homicide detectives at police headquarters, where according to court papers, they implicated themselves.

Court documents say that although the mother was not directly involved in the slaying, "she admitted her involvement with the abuse of the victim."

The mother "never questioned the whereabouts" of her daughter when she came home and found her missing, the court documents say, adding that she conspired with her boyfriend to file a false missing persons report with Baltimore County police.

On Friday, the day after the interviews, Mr. Dorsey led police to the girl's body, located off Franklintown Road, about 85 feet from the pavement.

Ms. Griffin has no prior criminal record. At the time of the slaying, Mr. Dorsey was out on bail stemming from an arrest two weeks ago on three drug-related charges, including possession of drugs with intent to distribute. He faces trial on those charges Aug. 18.

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