Missing boyfriend charged in Morgan State woman's death

Police found her body in folded-up sofa bed

July 01, 2000|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

The boyfriend of a woman whose body was discovered Tuesday in a Northeast Baltimore house has been charged in her death, and city police are searching for the man in suburban Washington.

Ricardo P. Ashton, 21, who is on probation for a theft conviction, was charged Thursday night with first-degree murder in the killing of Veleka A. Diggs, a 21-year-old from Prince George's County who had attended Morgan State University last year.

Police said detectives found a green 1999 Mazda 626 belonging to Diggs' mother, which had been missing from the victim's Baltimore apartment, Thursday night in Oxon Hill. They said officers confronted the driver, believed to be Ashton, who they said pushed an officer and ran away.

Diggs' cousin, Thomas Willis, 37, said relatives are relieved that police named a suspect.

Diggs' body was found inside a folded sofa bed by a police officer who checked the second-floor apartment in the 1600 block of Northgate Road near the campus.

Relatives from Temple Hills had driven to Baltimore to check on Diggs, who had been reported missing in Prince George's County on June 16. They flagged down an officer patrolling the neighborhood and asked him to search the apartment on Northgate Road, which Diggs continued to rent for her stays in Baltimore.

Police at the scene had said Diggs had been bludgeoned, but they said yesterday that she had been killed in another manner. They and the state medical examiner's office declined to disclose the cause of death.

Wills said relatives know little about the suspect and how he and Diggs met, other than that they attended Potomac High School together. Diggs had stopped attending Morgan after her sophomore year. Wills said she was living at home in Temple Hills and working at a salon in Alexandria, Va., to earn money before returning. She had wanted to be a teacher.

Police said yesterday they know of no motive. Ashton was convicted of felony theft in Prince George's in 1997 and was on probation until October. Diggs' relatives said yesterday they are making funeral arrangements.

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