Man charged with murder in beating of elderly woman

September 29, 1999|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

Police have charged a Baltimore man with murder in the fatal beating of a 70-year-old woman last year in North Baltimore.

Michael P. Stewart, 47, who lived in the 1100 block of Forrest St. was charged last week with first-degree murder after the state medical examiner's office determined Eunice Heath died May 3 from injuries she suffered during a robbery Nov. 1 of her Charles Village townhouse.

Stewart, held since November at the Baltimore City Detention Center on robbery charges, remains a suspect in the homicides of two other elderly people last year during robberies of their homes in the area, police said.

Police spokeswoman Angelique Cook-Hayes said a man went into Heath's home in the 1900 block of St. Paul St. last year and beat her and her husband, David Johnston, 79, then robbed them of trinkets and a small amount of money.

Heath died at Homewood Extended Care Center from blunt-force injuries to her head and hip.

The beating of the couple occurred during a spate of assaults and robberies of the elderly in October and November. The victims were tied up, beaten and left for dead. Stewart was arrested Nov. 10 on assault and robbery charges stemming from home invasion robberies in Charles Village, Guilford, Homewood and Kernwood. He was not charged with murder in any of the cases until last week.

James Chilis, 79, was beaten unconscious and found dead 21 hours later Oct. 6 in the hallway of his Underwood Road home in Guilford. Joseph Vowels, 75, was beaten Oct. 21 in his upholstery shop at Biddle Street and Guilford Avenue in Midtown and left in a coma. He died two weeks later. No charges have been filed in those cases.

The arrest in November occurred six months after Stewart was released from the Maryland House of Correction in Jessup after serving 14 years of a 20-year sentence for robbery and burglary.

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