Marine's father says police could have prevented slaying

March 28, 1997|By Jill Hudson | Jill Hudson,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Caitlin Francke contributed to this article.

The father of Marine Cpl. Andre D. Boone -- who will be buried with honors Monday afternoon at Arlington National Cemetery -- believes that Howard County police might have been able to prevent his son's slaying.

Boone, 23, was shot to death last Friday at the Columbia home of his stepfather, James Milton Harding Jr., an hour after another man called police to complain that he had been threatened by Harding.

That man, Sean Mease, told police that Harding had a gun in his house. Harding, a former Maryland state trooper and a former Howard County police recruit, has been charged in Boone's slaying.

"I feel as though the police should have investigated the call," said Boone's father, Andre Humphrey, a Baltimore pastor.

"I'm not suggesting that they should have gone over to Harding's house, kicked the door down and taken the gun," he said. But he suggested that police should have taken further action.

Harding is being held without bail at the Howard County Detention Center. Humphrey -- who often visited his son and former girlfriend L'Net H. Harding at their Columbia home -- painted a picture of Harding as a controlling, domineering man who was a "time bomb" since he was fired as a state trooper in 1994 after 18 months on the job.

"James used to be the one with the uniform, the power and the authority," Humphrey said, indicating that his son's rise in the Marine Corps may have been a source of family tension. "I think just lost it every time he'd see Andre as the one with the uniform and the power now."

Sgt. Steven Keller, a Howard County police spokesman, said that police acted appropriately when they responded to Mease's 911 call last Friday by going to Mease's house in east Columbia.Keller said the officer did not have sufficient reason to confront Harding at his home, where the alleged incident involving Mease occurred and where Boone was shot to death an hour later.

Pub Date: 3/28/97

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