2 people arrested in Bolton Hill killing Man, woman charged in fatal beating, carjacking cases

January 29, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A man released from prison last year after serving a sentence for abducting a woman off a downtown street was charged yesterday with killing an 86-year-old Bolton Hill man and with a series of daylight carjackings from two midtown neighborhoods.

Police increased patrols in Mount Vernon and Bolton Hill after residents expressed concern over a series of afternoon attacks that targeted people who were walking from their homes to their cars.

Robert Lane, 32, and Janet Hope King, 29, were each charged with one count of first-degree murder and several counts of carjacking, kidnapping, armed robbery and assault. They were arrested Tuesday evening.

In each case, police said a person's car was taken, along with money, keys and bank cards. One man was forced into his trunk and driven to an East Baltimore parking lot, police said. One woman was tied up with stereo wire and left in her basement.

The incidents began Dec. 18 and apparently ended Jan. 8, when Ernest T. Hildebrandt, 86, was beaten during a robbery behind his home in the 1300 block of Park Ave., police said. Hildebrandt died of his injuries Jan. 16.

"The attacks kept getting progressively violent," said Detective John Gipe of the homicide unit. "They weren't targeting anyone specifically. It just seems they were going through and picking targets and victims at random."

Lane of the 2900 block of The Alameda pleaded guilty in 1994 to one count of armed carjacking and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was released Feb. 22, 1997, after he accumulated work and good-time credits.

He had abducted a woman near North Howard and East Madison streets in January 1994 and forced her to sit in the passenger seat of her car as he drove around the city to drug corners, bank machines and then nearly to New York City.

After Hildebrandt died, Bolton Hill residents held a community meeting with police officers, and an anonymous former neighbor offered a $25,000 reward for an arrest leading to an indictment and conviction.

Word of the arrests spread throughout the community over e-mail yesterday.

"We are thrilled," said Deborah Diehl, president of the Midtown Community Benefits District, said in an interview. "We see this crime as an aberration. This doesn't happen every day."

The first case in which Lane and King are charged occurred in Northeast Baltimore. Police said Judith Horst, 44, was approached by a man and a woman outside her home and robbed of her purse Dec. 18.

Police said the woman was forced to give up her bank cards and numerical codes and was tied with stereo wire and duct tape and left in her basement. Her four-door 1990 Toyota Camry was stolen.

Ten days later, Dec. 28, police said a man and a woman forced Ghehal Munshi, 61, into his 1997 Pontiac Bonneville outside his home on East Madison Street in Mount Vernon. Police said he was forced into the trunk of the car, which was discovered two hours later in East Baltimore.

On Jan. 6, police said, Heather Joslyn, 33, was attacked near her Bolton Hill home.

Police said a man and a woman, who was armed with a knife, demanded her keys and money and tried to force her into her 1997 Honda Civic. Police said that she was assaulted when she fought back and that the suspects stole the car.

Two days later, Hildebrandt, who survived an intruder's attack in the 1980s, was robbed and beaten in the head behind his Bolton Hill house, where he had lived for three decades and was known for his cooking and gardening.

Four days after Hildebrandt died Jan. 16, police found his 1980 Chevrolet Citation with handicap tags parked in the 400 block of E. 31st St.

On Jan. 22, police said, a 1995 Nissan Maxima was reported stolen in the city.

Police said that Tuesday night in West Baltimore, an officer spotted the Nissan and arrested the two occupants, identified as Lane and King, who lives in the 2900 block of Hillen Road.

Lane and King were being held last night without bail in Central Booking and Intake Center.

Lane was convicted of abducting Alison Barnes at knifepoint Jan. 12, 1994, and forcing her into her 1986 Mazda 323 on a downtown street.

"You scream and I'll kill you," he told the woman, according to court papers.

Upon discovering Barnes had only a handful of money, court documents said he told her: "You mean I robbed this car for $6. I can't believe it. Do you have an ATM card?"

Lane spent the day driving around the city, stopping at bank machines and forcing Barnes to withdraw $20 or $40 at a time. He then took her to drug corners, where court papers said he bought heroin and shot up in the driver's seat, records say.

At one point, he made Barnes call her parents and told her what to say, the court papers say: "This is Alison. I am OK. I am not hurt, and if you call the police, he'll kill me."

The court documents then say that the woman was driven north to a toll booth near New York City, where she paid the toll. The driver then turned the car around, drove back to Baltimore and left her under a bridge. A homeless person helped her to a police station.

Pub Date: 1/29/98

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