Park Heights slaying victims are identified Officers won't discuss what may have happened

September 30, 1997|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Baltimore police yesterday identified the three people found slain in a Park Heights rowhouse Saturday as homicide detectives struggled to find a lead in the brutal stabbings.

Detective Darryl Massey said investigators were working on one possible scenario that might shed light on a motive, but he would not elaborate.

He said police believe two killers are responsible for the slayings in different parts of the two-story house in the 4600 block of Park Heights Ave., apparently after a violent struggle.

"This one we're going to take our time on," Massey said. "The act of violence, using a knife on three people -- it tells you certain things. Anger does exist here."

Police have been tight-lipped since family members found the bodies Saturday afternoon. Police believe the two men and a woman were killed Friday night by someone who forced open an entryway.

Without going into detail, police confirmed for the first time that each of the victims had been stabbed several times. Police would not say where in the house the bodies were found, but a spokeswoman said they were not all in the same room. Police said no weapon or drugs were found, though several empty crack cocaine vials and other drug paraphernalia were found in an alley near the victims' house and a vacant dwelling.

One of the victims was identified as Ophelia Ellen Henson, 49, who lived in the Park Heights Avenue house owned by her mother. The second victim, police said, was her boyfriend, Craig Houston Culley, 37, who also lived there.

The third victim was identified as Willie Ray Howard, 49, who, police said, was an acquaintance of Henson and was temporarily living in the house.

One of Henson's nieces, Ivolee Henson, 27, who lives next door, reported hearing screams and arguing late Friday night, but didn't pay any attention to it because "there is always yelling in Park Heights."

Another neighbor, Lisa Cherry, 26, said she walked by the house about 6: 30 p.m. Friday and saw Ophelia Henson arguing with two men. In 1995, Ophelia Henson filed an assault charge against Culley, but prosecutors put the case on the inactive docket on the condition that the two stay away from each other. Massey said yesterday that the couple's past is being looked at, but is not believed to be connected to the slayings.

Pub Date: 9/30/97

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