Unsolved slaying here sparks petition drive, visitors from Maine Senator's aides ask city's police to reopen case of death of man from Bangor

March 09, 1996|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

An unsolved Baltimore slaying of a Maine man has sparked a petition drive and a visit here yesterday by representatives of a U.S. senator who asked police to reopen their investigation.

Lawrence Jones Jr. was shot to death in Southeast Baltimore on Nov. 20, 1993, shortly after he moved here from Bangor, Maine.

The only child of Lawrence and Young Cha Jones, the 24-year-old Mr. Jones was shot in the eye outside his home in the 1400 block of Bank St. No arrests have been made.

His death prompted a petition campaign -- with 1,651 signatures from Maine residents -- asking that the city Police Department pursue the case.

Yesterday, two aides from the office of Republican Sen. William S. Cohen of Maine met with Maj. Wendell France, head of Baltimore's homicide unit.

Major France was unavailable for comment yesterday.

A police spokesman, however, said homicide detectives have reopened the case and found no new evidence. He also said he viewed the visit from senatorial aides as an insult to the department.

"It's unfortunate that a family connected with a U.S. senator would resort to that as a way of applying pressure on the department," spokesman Sam Ringgold said yesterday.

"We continue to investigate it with no leads, no witnesses, no weapon. It's a difficult homicide to solve, as many of them are. To suggest the department has not aggressively pursued the case or pushed it off to the side is not true," he said.

Sally Lounsbury, one of the senatorial aides who met with police for 10 minutes yesterday, said she was that the Police Department reopened the case last fall, but came up with no new evidence.

The elder Mr. Jones died in September, leaving the victim's mother to pursue the case. Yesterday, Mrs. Jones, in a telephone interview from her home in Bangor, said she was distressed that the original homicide detective who handled the case has left the city police force.

"They tell me they're doing an investigation. They didn't do anything in 1 1/2 years," she said.

Mrs. Jones said she believes her husband died of a broken heart. She found him dead on the kitchen floor after returning from work, she said.

Since then, she said, she has been unable to work at her job operating a rewinder machine at a mill that makes paper towels.

"I can't sleep at all and walk in my sleep," she said. In her native Korean culture, the soul of a person who has died of a violent act won't rest until the killer is found, she added.

A friend, Brenda Lawson, said yesterday that she began organizing the petition drive and the visit from Mr. Cohen's aides after she noticed Mrs. Jones' "health deteriorating before my eyes. I'm very alarmed by it."

Pub Date: 3/09/96

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