Vigil marks anniversary of slaying

September 27, 1994|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Sun Staff Writer

More than 100 friends and relatives of a Pasadena nightclub owner who was gunned down in the driveway of her home gathered last night at the scene of the crime to mark the first anniversary of her death.

Lightning flashed in the evening sky over the Magothy River as TC the mourners, each holding a candle, gathered around a makeshift altar decorated with flowers and a large picture of JoAnne S. Valentine, who was slain Sept. 26, 1993.

"The sky is so beautiful tonight. We had a big rainbow earlier, that's JoAnne . . . watching over us," Pam Lyons, Mrs. Valentine's sister, told the mourners.

On the night she was killed, Mrs. Valentine, 47, was returning home after closing two of her nightclubs -- A. L. Gators and Rumblefish -- when the driver of a car followed her into the driveway of her home in the 500 block of Broadneck Road. According to police accounts, she argued with a man from the car and was shot twice.

She died several hours later at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Police made an arrest in the case a month later, but prosecutors dropped the charges, saying they lacked sufficient evidence for a conviction.

Rather than dwelling on the unsolved case, those who gathered yesterday sang the hymn "On Eagle's Wings" and listened to a favorite poem of Mrs. Valentine's, by an anonymous poet, that she had said reminded her of her brother, who died after a heart attack three years ago.

"Do not stand by my grave and weep," read Linda Grunder, Mrs. Valentine's sister. "I am not there. I do not sleep. . . . Do not stand by my grave and cry. I am not there. I did not die."

Members of Mrs. Valentine's family cried as they remembered trips they had taken with her and funny things she had done.

It has been a hard year for the family, Mrs. Lyons said, and family members decided to have the memorial service to help with their grief and draw attention to victims' rights.

"How hard it is to believe it's been one year since our lives have been so drastically changed," Mrs. Lyons said. "I still find myself looking for her in different places and waiting for her to arrive."

Last Oct. 1, police arrested Edward McLeod, 43, after they found the gun used in the slaying in the trunk of his car. According to court records, police found the gun when Mr. McLeod was charged with stealing nine packs of film from a Safeway supermarket at the Lake Shore Plaza Shopping Center in the 4100 block of Mountain Road.

Mr. McLeod of the 1800 block of Division St. in West Baltimore is also charged with the theft of a .38-caliber Taurus handgun from the On Target gun store in Odenton on July 7, 1993. He is scheduled for trial on Oct. 18 on the weapons charge.

On the night Mrs. Valentine was killed, her husband, Vincent, saw the argument and shooting from a bedroom balcony near the garage. Their sons, Vincent, 16, and Nicholas, 14, were asleep upstairs. Relatives of Mrs. Valentine have said the assailants did not take $3,000 in cash that was in the car.

The loud barking of the family dog, Riptide, a Chesapeake Bay retriever, woke Mrs. Valentine's mother-in-law, Anna Wagner, who lives next door to the family. She went downstairs, flipped on the outdoor lights and saw saw her daughter-in-law in a pool of blood and her son and grandson kneeling over the body, screaming and weeping.

Last night, many people remembered Mrs. Valentine as a devoted mother and friend.

"She always came to the school and kept up with things," said Claire Myers who taught one of Mrs. Valentine's sons at a Catholic school in Severna Park.

"It must have be awful to lose your mother, especially in such a violent way. You never think it can happen to you. It's wonderful to see all these people here."

A neighbor of Mrs. Valentine who asked not to be identified said she is close to Mrs. Valentine's boys and they cannot understand why this happened.

"I'm also angry that they let someone go," she said. "There is no justice here."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.