Looking for justice

Murder acquittal: Jury's verdict in Columbia hotel shooting leaves a killer at large.

October 01, 2001

GETTING AWAY with murder isn't just a Baltimore phenomenon.

Sometimes people get away with murder in the suburbs, even in places like Howard County, which has some of Maryland's highest housing costs and lowest crime rates.

In Howard County, whoever killed Andre Devonne Corinaldi at a Columbia hotel party in January is walking the streets.

That's unacceptable. When someone commits homicide, no matter where, it can't be tolerated. Police and prosecutors must do what it takes to find the killer and bring that person to justice. Murderers can't be allowed to walk the streets, free to kill again.

Corinaldi was an 18-year-old senior at Long Reach High when someone killed him and injured Lauren Nicole Perkins, of Elkridge.

The killer, armed with a semiautomatic weapon, mindlessly and murderously pumped four bullets through a hotel room door, hitting Corinaldo and Perkins.

But who was the shooter?

A Howard County jury Thursday acquitted Shamal Ira Chapman, 21, of Jessup, who stood trial for the incident. Mr. Chapman's public defenders suggested that someone else in the crowded, confused atmosphere could have pulled the trigger.

Now that Mr. Chapman is a free man, police and prosecutors must continue their drive to bring the guilty party to justice, whoever that person is.

They have to do it for Corinaldo -- and to send a message to other would-be murderers that crime does not pay in Maryland.

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