2 charged in lawyer's slaying

September 08, 1994|By Tanya Jones and Robert Hilson Jr. | Tanya Jones and Robert Hilson Jr.,Sun Staff Writers

City police have charged two men with murder in connection with the death of an attorney who was shot and killed during an apparent robbery as he walked to his North Baltimore apartment after a chess club meeting this spring.

In addition to first-degree murder charges, Keith Bernard Sterrette, 31, and Derek Slaughter, 30, were charged with handgun violations in the death of Marvin B. Cooper, who was gunned down May 28.

Police said Mr. Sterrette was arrested without incident shortly before 8 p.m. yesterday at his home in the 1400 block of McHenry St. in southwest Baltimore. He was being held at the Southern District police lockup today awaiting a bail hearing.

Mr. Slaughter, of the 1500 block of E. Preston St., was arrested Tuesday and was being held at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

Although investigators said Mr. Cooper was robbed, neither suspect was charged with robbery, according to Officer Sabrina Tapp-Harper, a police spokeswoman.

Police would not say what information led to the arrests.

Mr. Cooper, 45, was killed after he parked his car and walked in the 200 block of Chancery Road on the southern edge of Guilford, around the corner from his apartment building, about 1:30 a.m. after an evening of playing chess, police said.

He was approached by at least one man who took his wallet and shot him once in the stomach, investigators said. Mr. Cooper gave police a brief description of his assailants before he died during surgery two hours later.

The victim lived in the 3600 block of Greenway.

He ran a small law practice in South Baltimore that focused on commercial, bankruptcy and real estate law. His wife had graduated from law school shortly before the shooting. The Coopers had no children.

The shooting sparked outrage among residents of Guilford and the neighboring Oakenshawe section who feared crime from the surrounding community was beginning to spill into their areas. In 1992, a private security company had been hired to patrol the Guilford area.

About two weeks before the shooting, a Johns Hopkins University professor died from injuries he received during a robbery and attack on the porch of his Oakenshawe rowhome. Two arrests were made in the incident.

Last fall, thieves broke into a Guilford house, stole valuables and raped a resident.

Most recently, an elderly couple -- both retired physicians -- were found beaten to death in their Guilford home across from the Sherwood Gardens. The 30-year-old grandson of Walter and Mary Loch admitted to bludgeoning his grandparents to death in a dispute over money.

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