Woman facing murder charge shot to death She was released on bail 2 weeks ago

October 31, 1997|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A woman charged with murder last month and released on bail two weeks ago became a slaying victim herself yesterday morning when a man posing as an officer shot her in the head, police said .

Bernadine Cooper, 44, died in the kitchen of her house in the 1200 block of Treeleaf Court, in the Somerset Homes public housing complex in East Baltimore across the street from the Old Town Mall.

Police said that, according to family members, a man in his 30s wearing a tan, waist-length jacket knocked on Cooper's front door about 7: 40 a.m. and said he was a police officer. A woman peeked out and saw a silver-colored badge hanging from a chain around his neck and opened the door.

The man walked inside and asked to speak to Cooper, said Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a city police spokesman. He said Cooper walked downstairs and went into the kitchen.

The man pulled out a handgun and "without provocation" fired several times, hitting Cooper in the head, Weinhold said. The gunman ran out the door, Weinhold said.

Police had not made any arrests last night, he said.

Detectives who interviewed the several family members and three children who were at the home at the time of the slaying said they knew of no motive.

Detectives said they were investigating the case in which Cooper had been charged to determine whether it was connected to her death.

Police were called to the Treeleaf Court home minutes after 1 a.m. Sept. 16 to investigate a shooting. They found Ricky Kaintuck, 44, lying in a courtyard with a bullet wound to the head.

"The victim told us that it was the woman inside who had shot him," detectives said in court documents filed in the case. "The victim continued to say that the woman wanted to control him."

tTC Police said they went to a second-floor bedroom of the house and found a .22-caliber Magnum rifle and a shell casing. Cooper was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder.

Kaintuck was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12: 20 p.m. Sept. 17. Homicide charges were filed against Cooper, who was ordered held without bail.

Circuit Judge Joseph P. McCurdy set bail at $25,000 Oct. 14. State prison officials said Cooper posted the money and was released four days later. Her next court appearance had been scheduled for Nov. 10.

Weinhold said detectives do not think the badge the gunman wore to help gain entry to Cooper's house was authentic.

Witnesses described the badge as one color, silver. Baltimore police badges are silver with designs in blue, red, white, yellow and black, Weinhold said. Officers also carry photo identification cards, he said.

Pub Date: 10/31/97

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