Imprisoned man, 54, charged in 1968 death Anonymous tip led to case's reopening

September 03, 1998|By Alec Klein | Alec Klein,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Caitlin Francke contributed to this article.

An anonymous tip that led police to reopen a 30-year-old unsolved killing in Baltimore led to the indictment yesterday of a 54-year-old man on charges of first-degree murder and handgun possession.

David Dwight McNair, serving a sentence in a Hagerstown prison for a parole violation, could be sentenced to life in prison if he is convicted in the fatal shooting of janitor Carroll Clifton Savage, 23, of the 1600 block of Thomas St.

Before a city grand jury handed up yesterday's indictment, this was known about the case: At 1: 35 a.m. July 17, 1968, Savage was in the basement of his West Baltimore home, watching television with his brother Ralph, 30, and a friend, Carolyn Ross, 22. When the doorbell rang, Savage went to answer the door.

A man fired several shots at point-blank range when Savage opened the door, police said. The gunman jumped into a car, where another man sat at the wheel with the engine running. They sped off. Ralph Savage found his brother lying face up on the porch.

This year, McNair was spotted on the street by someone who thought he had been locked up for Savage's killing, authorities said. The tipster called police and asked: "Was that guy arrested?"

The question piqued the interest of the Police Department's Cold Case Squad and the Baltimore state's attorney's office. When they looked at the old file, they saw McNair listed as a potential suspect.

Detectives found witnesses still alive. New information came to light, though Mark P. Cohen, the assistant state's attorney overseeing the case, declined to discuss evidence that may be used in court. Within two to three months of the anonymous tip, detectives obtained a warrant for McNair's arrest in July and arrested him last month.

Pub Date: 9/03/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.