After 2 1/2 years, a new look at slaying Veteran detective brings passion to homicide unit

October 03, 1997|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

Detective Daniel Boone stepped out of his Chevrolet Malibu at Maryland City Plaza Shopping Center and scanned the vacant storefront that used to be Car Tel Mobile Communications for clues in a 2 1/2 -year-old slaying.

On Valentine's Day, 1995, Angelia K. Hamilton, working behind the single glass showcase in the narrow Laurel store, was gunned down in what police believe was an attempted robbery. Nothing was taken from the store, except a woman's life.

The case may be old, but Boone brings the same drive to solve it as he does to more recent killings.

'Genuinely concerned'

In Anne Arundel's homicide squad, supervisor Sgt. Charles Blevins said Boone has set an example for the other detectives with his passion for the job.

"Danny is genuinely concerned about people, about the victims," Blevins said. "He's working the old cases with the same enthusiasm as he does the new cases. Danny's standards never waver from case to case."

In the few weeks since he took over the Hamilton case, Boone has reviewed documents, revisited the strip mall in the 3400 HTC block of Fort Meade Road and reinterviewed neighboring shop owners, witnesses and police officers to shake loose new details.

At 22, Hamilton had just moved from Oklahoma with her husband, Brandon, in hopes of better jobs. She was tall with long, curly, brilliant-red hair. She was her husband's first love.

The homicide was Anne Arundel County's first in 1995.

"We're just hoping to get the public reinterested in it," Boone said last week. "What works against you is so much time has passed, people think the case was solved."

That's what Boone wants to do. The 50-year-old detective is the county homicide squad's senior member, though he's been with the force only two years. His seniority comes by way of his 12 years with the homicide squad in Baltimore, a city that copes with nearly a killing a day.

A high school friend invited Boone to join the Baltimore force in 1973. He moved from patrolman to a plainclothes unit, then went through the vice and gambling squad, narcotics and, finally, homicide.

'It's rewarding'

"Homicide was probably the last thing I wanted to do when I became a police officer," said Boone.

Now, however, he says, "It's rewarding because the families are really appreciative. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of damage one human being is capable of inflicting on another human being."

In Baltimore, he saw everything from gang shootings to dismemberments, and even came up with a top 10 list of things that will get someone killed in the city. Calling someone a name, stepping on someone's shoes and insulting a man in front of his wife, girlfriend or mother topped the list.

In Baltimore, Boone handled as many as 11 slaying cases a year, undertaking 60-mile-a-day bicycle tours to relieve the stress.

After 22 years, he retired and joined the Anne Arundel Police Department in 1995, several months after Hamilton was slain in Maryland City.

The pace was strikingly different. This year in Anne Arundel, four slayings are being handled by a four-member squad.

Boone doesn't cycle as much.

"The working environment is friendly, relaxed, and the pace is slower," Boone said.

"We don't have the volume, but you have more time to work on a case," he said.

When Boone arrived in Anne Arundel, he spent nine months as a patrolman in the Northern District, earning fame for his name and his sense of humor -- both of which he credits to his 5-foot-tall mother in New York, his hometown.

"We called him the Prozac Kid because he was always happy -- like too happy," said Officer Keith Light, who worked with Boone at the Northern District precinct. "He's always got a spring in his step and a smile on his face."

It wasn't the first time colleagues noticed his cheerful attitude. A sergeant once criticized him when he was a young detective for smiling at a crime scene.

Returning to the scene

Standing in front of the strip mall, Boone writes down detailed observations, noting all possible routes the bloodied gunman could have used to escape. He stops at each shop door, talking with owners, laughing with managers who joke with him.

So far, he's gotten a few telephone calls but nothing significant. Hamilton's mother calls each month, hoping the police have new leads.

"That touches the part of me that says, 'Hey, who speaks for the victim?' " Boone said. "It's going to be a lot of legwork, but this is the time to get on the old cases and possibly get a break."

Metro Crime Stoppers, Cellular One and Car Tel Mobile Communications are offering a combined reward of $12,000 for information leading to the conviction of a suspect in the Hamilton case. Anyone with information should call Boone at 410-222-3461.

Pub Date: 10/03/97

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