Man free on bail charged in killing

Witness who identified him in 1999 shooting was fatally shot

February 06, 2002|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

While he was on probation and free on bail in two separate criminal cases, a 22-year-old Northwest Baltimore man shot and killed a former witness against him, according to police and court records.

Andre L. "Turtle" Chavis of the 3300 block of Firelight Lane is charged in the shooting death Dec. 8 of Adrian Jenkins, 21, who had identified Chavis as a gunman in a 1999 shooting. Police have been searching for Chavis since charging him in late December.

"This is the type of person we must remove from the streets immediately," said Agent Martin Bartness, a police spokesman. "He's proved elusive."

Chavis was also elusive before the killing in December, court records show. A District Court commissioner released him on $25,000 bail Nov. 23 after he was arrested on drug charges. The next day, a Circuit Court judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest on charges that he had violated probation in connection with an arrest in May.

Chavis was granted bail in the May case twice, the second time on Nov. 3, after he was arrested on a bench warrant for failing to appear at a hearing.

Bartness said Chavis should be considered armed and dangerous. Chavis, 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing about 160, probably has cut off his mustache and clipped his hair shorter, police said.

Chavis, who police said had an accomplice in the December killing, is also charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Noah Rich, 20, in the same incident.

When he was 15, Chavis was charged as an adult with first-degree murder in the beating death of a man in Northwest Baltimore. He told police detectives he had joined a group of other boys and kicked the man, according to court records.

Chavis' case was moved to Juvenile Court, and its outcome could not be determined yesterday. In a motion to move the case to Juvenile Court, Chavis' lawyer wrote that "the defendant is not a threat to public safety" and "is amenable to treatment."

In 1999, Chavis was charged in the shooting of a 44-year-old man in the 2300 block of Anoka Ave., where Chavis lived with his grandmother, according to court records.

The men had "words," and the victim, John Demby, 46, was shot in the left arm, said police, who quickly found a witness, Jenkins, who lived in the block where the shooting occurred.

Jenkins picked Chavis out of a photo lineup as the shooter and gave detectives a taped statement, according to police and court records. Prosecutors dropped the case in May 2000.

A month before the 1999 shooting, Chavis was given a suspended sentence and three years of probation on a 1999 drug and assault conviction, according to court records. He was convicted of selling drugs and assaulting police officers when he was arrested in December 1997, the records say.

Chavis kicked and hit the officers, spit in one's face, then hit an officer with his shoulder while handcuffed.

Investigators would not discuss the December killing yesterday.

Police arrested Martez "Tree" Countess, 23, of the 400 block of Lyndhurst St., who is suspected of being Chavis' accomplice, during a car stop Jan. 17. Countess, who is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder, is being held without bail at the city jail.

Anyone with information about Chavis is urged to call detectives of the Warrant Apprehension Task Force at 410-637-8970, or Metro Crime Stoppers, which is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to Chavis' arrest and indictment, at 410-276-8888.

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