Police accuse man of beating neighbor

Robber hits woman, 76, in head with lead pipe

July 15, 1999|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Baltimore police are searching for a maintenance man accused of beating a 76-year-old woman with a lead pipe and trying to suffocate her with a pillow during the robbery of her Northwest Baltimore apartment.

Jovan Watkins, 37, has been charged in an arrest warrant with armed robbery and assault in the early Tuesday morning attack in the 2300 block of Chelsea Terrace, where the victim and suspect live.

Authorities had not arrested Watkins as of yesterday.

Police described the 12: 30 a.m. attack as vicious. They said the woman, Vodell Foster Dorsey, was knocked unconscious and then struck again after she came to, as her television set and videocassette recorder were being carted away.

Sgt. Scott Rowe, a city police spokesman, said Dorsey answered a knock on her door and let a man, whom she knew, inside for a glass of water. Rowe said Dorsey was struck on the head and body when she returned with the drink.

Police said Dorsey regained consciousness and crawled to her front door to get help. Rowe said she was hit again in the head with the pipe, and her attacker tried to smother her with a pillow.

The attacker eventually left with her television and videocassette recorder, Rowe said, and Dorsey dialed 911 for help. She then passed out again, and police had to break down her first-floor apartment door to get inside.

Rowe said Dorsey gave police the suspect's name and was rushed to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was listed in serious condition yesterday. Detective Joseph Jefferson said Dorsey's injuries required nearly 100 stiches.

Dorsey lives in a 5,000-square foot house divided into apart- ments in Windsor Hills. Tenants declined to comment yesterday.

Police and a neighbor said Watkins was living at the house in exchange for his help with odd jobs and renovations. The building's owner, Howard F. Lynch, whose office is eight blocks from Chelsea Terrace, did not return calls for comment yesterday.

Cynthia Gwynn, a neighbor who has known Dorsey for three years, said the woman called "Miss Dell" was active in a downtown Baltimore Roman Catholic church and helped out at soup kitchens daily.

Pub Date: 7/15/99

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