Suspect is back in jail after disappearing while helping police

November 10, 1994|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Sun Staff Writer

A kidnapping suspect who disappeared two months ago while helping county police gather information about the slaying of a Pasadena nightclub owner is back in jail, authorities said yesterday.

County detectives spotted Clarence D. Pittman, 49, walking along East Eager Street in Baltimore Nov. 2, said Capt. Michael Fitzgibbons, head of the county police Criminal Investigations Division.

"We had three two-man teams of detectives cruising the streets and his last known hangouts," he said. "One of them recognized him."

Mr. Pittman, who had been held without bond in the county Detention Center on kidnapping, carjacking and armed robbery charges, was released Sept. 6 by a Circuit Court judge to help police get information on the shooting death a year earlier of JoAnne Valentine in the driveway of her Arnold home. He disappeared a few days later.

Police had arrested Edward McLeod of the 1800 block of Division St., Baltimore, in that case, but prosecutors dropped the charges, citing a lack of evidence.

Mr. Pittman "was released on personal recognizance to work with the detectives," Captain Fitzgibbons said.

"We were not ordered by the court to guard this man. He did not escape. He failed to show up at a designated meeting place, and then we began looking for him."

Captain Fitzgibbons would not say where Mr. Pittman had been or why he did not return to the detectives as planned.

Mr. Pittman first was released in August after he told police he had information about the slaying of Mrs. Valentine, 47.

Law enforcement sources said the suspect told police he had been standing outside a crack house inBaltimore a short time after Mrs. Valentine was shot when a car with four men arrived.

He said he heard the men arguing about a killing and botched robbery and saw one of the men take a handgun out of his waistband and put it in the trunk of the car, the sources said.

Mr. Pittman returned to the Detention Center shortly after his August release. He was released again Sept. 6.

After Mr. Pittman's release, detectives checked him into a hotel in Baltimore.

They put a recording device on him and sent him back to the crack house hoping to find witnesses who had overheard the same conversation that he did. He disappeared shortly thereafter.

On Sept. 16, Circuit Court Judge Martin A. Wolff issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Pittman, court records say.

Mrs. Valentine, who with her husband, Vincent, owned Pasadena nightclubs A. L. Gators and Rumblefish, was shot to death in her driveway about 4 a.m. after she returned home from closing the establishments.

She was heard arguing with a man before she was shot, but her assailant did not take the more than $3,000 in cash that was on the front seat of the car or her jewelry.

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