City worker pleads guilty to murder

judge gives 40-year sentence

2 killed last February in drug money dispute

February 11, 2000|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore City maintenance worker -- who figures in an inquiry into city public works payroll records -- was sentenced to 40 years in prison yesterday after he pleaded guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court to killing two men last February.

Kelvin R. Langley, 31, of the 1200 block of Sheridan Ave. was sentenced by Judge Barbara Kerr Howe after he cut short his trial on murder charges and agreed to plead guilty to two counts of second-degree murder.

Howe sentenced Langley to 20 years for killing Robert Onwubiko, 44, and a consecutive 20 years for killing Johnmark Nwolise, 40.

She also sentenced him to a concurrent five year term for a handgun violation.

The victims' bodies were found Feb. 7, 1999, in their Lansdowne apartment at 42 N. Twin Circle Way.

"It's in God's hands now," Nwolise's sister, Cecilia Miller, said after the sentencing.

Langley, a maintenance worker in the city water department, admitted to police that he had been selling heroin provided by Onwubiko, according to testimony.

Langley also admitted that on the night of the murder he went to the apartment the two victims shared.

He said that he and Onwubiko pulled guns on each other during an argument over whether Langley owed Onwukibo $8,000 for heroin, according to police testimony.

"I shot my gun first. All the details after that are like a blur," Langley told Detecetive Gerald DeAngelo in a statement that was read in court.

According to testimony, eight shots were fired, with Onwubiko shot in the cheek, chest and shoulder and Nwolise shot once in the head.

Langley, who was grazed in the hand by a bullet, admitted to police that after the shooting, he drove to a city water department work site and told co-workers that he wasn't going to get to work that night, according to police testimony.

He then drove to Richmond, Va., where he sought treatment for the bullet wound under an assumed name at a public hospital.

Police focused on Langley after cellular telephone records linked him to Onwubiko and he initially denied having contacted the victim for several weeks before the killings.

Police and prosecutors said after the trial that city payroll records submitted by Langley's supervisors initially showed that he was at work on the night of the shooting, which threw them off Langley's trail.

"The record showed that he was on the payroll for that evening," said Dean Stocksdale, the assistant state's attorney who prosecuted Langley. "How pervasive that kind of thing was, I have no idea, but I know it happened in this case."

State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli is investigating payroll and overtime fraud in the city Department of Public Works, including the falsification of Langley's records.

Montanarelli raided the office of a Public Works supervisor early in March amid allegations that a select group of workers earned up to $60,000 each in fraudulent overtime in 1998.

A supervisor, Charlie Payne, acting chief of the city's water and wastewater treatment maintenance division, has been suspended without pay. He has denied any wrongdoing.

James Cabezas, an investigator for Montanarelli's office, said that the investigation is continuing, but he declined to discuss Langley's role or comment on the probe.

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