Clue to 1995 slaying of woman in Laurel sat on police evidence shelf Weapon used in shooting of others linked to killing

August 14, 1998|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

The clue was there all along.

A gun -- the one police say was used to kill phone store clerk Angelia K. Hamilton three years ago -- was sitting in a Prince George's County police evidence room just waiting for an Anne Arundel County homicide detective to discover it.

The clue was there and available, but it took time for Shaun J. Holman -- the owner of the gun -- to ripen into a suspect in the case.

In the three years between Valentine's Day 1995, when Hamilton, 22, was gunned down at the Car-Tel Mobile Communications store in Laurel, and Holman, 26, was indicted in the case, four Anne Arundel County detectives examined and re-examined countless suspects.

Not until this year did two "cold case" detectives discover the clue.

"The only physical evidence we had were projectiles" found in the store, said Lt. John R. "Bob" Jaschik, who heads the Anne Arundel criminal investigation division. "It really isn't any evidence until you get a gun" to match the bullets.

Soon after Hamilton was killed, as detectives pursued dozens of leads, Holman was considered as a suspect, but he seemed a long shot, because there was only one case on his record, for which he had received probation before judgment.

Maryland National Capital Park Police, which patrols parks in Prince George's County, suspected Holman, however, in a double shooting at Montpelier Park in Laurel that had occurred a few months earlier, on Halloween, 1994. Another holiday.

Three years later, when other possible suspects in the Hamilton slaying had been rejected, Holman's record had grown.

According to court records, Holman fired several shots Halloween morning at two brothers in a parked car at the park. Holman approached Charles and Thomas Wilder and asked whether they had anything cold to drink, money or cigarettes. When he was turned down, Holman pulled out a gun and fired several shots.

Charles Wilder was hit in his wrist, hip, stomach and elbow. Thomas Wilder was shot in the arm, chest and side. Both were hospitalized for more than a month, according to the court charging documents.

In that case, Holman was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced in January to two life terms.

A few months after the double shooting -- Feb. 14, 1995 -- a gunman walked into the Car-Tel mobile phone center in Laurel and asked to see a phone in a display case. He opened fire on Hamilton, a young wife who had just moved to Maryland with her husband in search of a better life.

Before she died, she described her assailant to Anne Arundel police. Holman matched the description, police said.

Six days later, two Laurel businesses were robbed at gunpoint. In both cases, the gunman shot at the store clerks. Prince George's police recovered the bullets and matched them to a gun taken by the Park Police from Holman's apartment in spring 1995.

He was convicted of armed robbery in one of the cases; the other was dropped.

With those facts in place, Anne Arundel County detectives David Waltemeyer and Herbert Hasenpusch took a new look early this year at their old suspect. They quickly knew they had a case.

They had the bullets, which revealed the type of gun that fired them, and Prince George's police had the gun. A simple ballistics test would determine whether the bullets from the murder scene had been fired by the gun Prince George's detectives had found.

"The ballistics stuff was re-examined, and we came up with a hit," Jaschik said.

That was enough to persuade a grand jury to indict Holman last month on charges of first- and second-degree murder, manslaughter, attempted armed robbery, use of a handgun in commission of a felony and use of a handgun in a violent crime.

"The cold-case guys just started examining every little thing," Jaschik said. "That's all they do. They took their time, they pursued it and, bam, there it was."

Pub Date: 8/14/98

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