Police charge boy in Nov. slaying But many old cases remain unsolved as leads grow cold

July 14, 1996|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

County police have charged a 12-year-old Severn youth with first-degree murder in the November shooting death of an 11-year-old playmate, solving a case they once labeled accidental.

Police filed the charges in the death of Nicholas Peter Pastore, of the 1300 block of Ava Road, two weeks ago and announced them Friday. The 12-year-old was released to his father.

Police said the boy originally told them he and Nicholas were playing with a shotgun at a house in the 8200 block of Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis Blvd. on Nov. 24 when the gun went off and a bullet hit Nicholas in the chest.

But Detective Norman Milligan of the Criminal Investigation Division said the youth's story had some inconsistencies, and he interviewed him again a few days later. That time, the youth confessed. Police waited to charge him, however, until they had the results of tests on a shell casing, which took more than seven months to get.

While that case has been solved, detectives in the homicide unit are still working to solve murders from as far back as 1993.

They say they have developed strong leads in the death of Lisa Haenel, the Old Mill High School student whose nude body was found in the woods near the school in January 1993. But the cases of Terry Keefer, the 37-year-old Millersville woman whose body was found in Howard County last September, Joanne Valentine, who was gunned down in front of her home in Arnold in September 1993, and Ruth Sharlene White-Metcalf, a 33-year-old whose body was discovered behind Cromwell Field Shopping Center last April have not progressed.

Sgt. Donald J. Hauf, head of the homicide unit, said Friday that police have developed strong leads, including DNA evidence, that may help them solve the Haenel murder.

"We feel good with that case and we have very good, viable leads," he said. "Everything is falling into place."

The 14-year-old Glen Burnie girl was stabbed to death as she walked to school one Friday morning in January, police believe. Her clothes were next to her body and there were no obvious signs of struggle or sexual assault. She was found lying face down in the ravine 100 feet from Shetlands Lane, near Century Towne Road.

Police received hundreds of leads in the case after former police Chief Robert Russell created a task force to help solve the crime. Police had been conducting DNA tests on the saliva of suspects in the case after detectives found a discarded cigarette near Lisa's body with her blood on it but someone else's saliva.

Hauf said the DNA test results are part of what is driving their investigation, and said leads "are getting stronger and stronger."

"The people we suspect are not ones who we think have killed before," he said. "It was just the right place and the right time, an opportunistic thing."

He said he could not say when police would make an arrest.

Police have not had much luck, however, with finding the killer of Terry Lee Keefer, who was strangled, according to the state medical examiner.

Keefer was last seen July 29, when she and her husband, David A. Dicus, quarreled, police said. She left their home on Cog Court between midnight and 2 a.m., saying that she needed to take a drive to clear her head.

Dicus has said that his wife suffered from mild depression and was taking medication for it.

In October, police reported that a witness saw Keefer with two men near her 1984 Toyota Tercel station wagon on Interstate 97 the night she disappeared. The car was found near dawn the next morning.

Hauf said detectives have not come up with any new leads in what he called a "strange case." They do not know whether the woman was killed in or near her car and dumped in Howard County or if she was abducted, then killed somewhere else.

Police say they have not ruled out anyone, including family members, as suspects in the crime.

"If you asked me about the mother or the dad or anybody whose name has been brought up in that case, I can't tell you they've been 100 percent cleared," Hauf said.

Police have arrested the same man twice in the Valentine case and another man once, but prosecutors dropped charges each time.

Edward W. McLeod, 44, was first charged with murder Nov. 9, 1993, based on evidence that he stole the gun used in the slaying. Prosecutors dropped those charges Feb. 7, 1994, because they didn't have enough evidence to bring the case to trial.

Nine months later, a grand jury indicted McCleod and Gilbert E. Griffin, 42, in the murder, but prosecutors dropped those charges after they learned that Griffin had been in jail the night of the shooting.

Since then, police have nothing new, Hauf said.

Detectives still are trying to find someone who may have seen White-Metcalf, whom police identified as a prostitute, the night before her body was discovered April 15.

"We can put her in the Curtis Bay-Brooklyn Park area Sunday night," he said then. "We're at least convinced that she was accosted in that area. It could have been somebody who she picked up who she didn't know. Maybe a drug deal went bad."

Pub Date: 7/14/96

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