Police find 2 suspects in homicide from 1995

November 01, 2001|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

After Charles S. Christensen was shot and killed at a Northwest Baltimore bus stop in 1995, detectives quickly found two witnesses who helped them identify two suspects.

Before Baltimore police detectives could bring charges, one witness vanished and the other was killed in Texas. The case then stalled, as detectives scrambled to try to solve the 325 killings the city tallied that year.

It stalled until this spring, when detectives in the department's cold case squad began tracking down the remaining witness. After knocking on more than 20 doors in the past several months, Detectives Clifton Macer and J.T. Brown found the witness, who identified two suspects in a photo lineup, Macer said.

Detectives with the city's Warrant Apprehension Task Force arrested the two men in recent days - one Tuesday night; the other Friday.

Charged with first-degree murder are Antonio E. Griffin, 24, of the 1800 block of Edgewater Drive in Edgewood, Harford County, and Jermaine Anderson, 22, of the first block of Morley St. in Baltimore.

Christensen, 40, was waiting at a bus stop about noon March 7 in the 3400 block of Reisterstown Road, several blocks from his apartment. Two men approached him and tried to rob him. Christensen picked up a bottle - either to defend himself or throw it at the men - and was then shot in the leg.

Christensen fell to the ground, and police suspect that the robbers got away with cash, Macer said.

When police and a passer-by rushed to the scene, they found Christensen pointing to his ear and belt, Macer said. He was apparently trying to tell them he was deaf. He also might have been asking them to use his belt as a tourniquet.

An hour later, Christensen died at Sinai Hospital.

Detectives found two witnesses and identified two suspects, but did not have enough evidence to charge the men, Macer said. The detectives tried but failed to find the witnesses to question them again.

Six years later, Macer and Brown, detectives in the department's cold case squad, took over the investigation in the spring. They knew immediately they had a good shot at cracking it open, Macer said, because it "already had a good foundation" and suspects had been identified.

To make an arrest, Macer and Brown would only need to find the original witness - a difficult but not impossible task.

Macer and Brown soon began knocking on doors, first at the witness' last known address, then wherever neighbors led them.

Finally, last week, they found the witness living with a relative.

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