Severn man, 33, sought in killing turns himself in

February 26, 2002|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

A Severn man accused of stabbing a neighbor to death last week and then dumping the victim's body at a Hanover office complex turned himself in to police yesterday, authorities said.

James Edward Belcher, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Michael Todd Jefferson, 22, whose body was discovered Thursday morning in the parking lot of a Hanover business park.

Anne Arundel County police obtained a warrant for Belcher's arrest after finding a trail of blood Friday outside his house in the 1800 block of Arwell Court in Severn. Blood also was found throughout the house, county police said. Jefferson stayed at various houses in the block, according to police.

Belcher's sister, Danielle Belcher of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., said her brother was visiting her when he learned from reading an online newspaper report that he was a suspect in Jefferson's death. He returned to Maryland with his sister yesterday afternoon and turned himself in to Howard County police, who took him into custody at a hotel on U.S. Route 1 in Laurel.

Danielle Belcher said her brother is innocent of the charges.

Police were searching yesterday for Belcher's car - a four-door burgundy 1996 Chrysler LHS - which they believe was used to transport Jefferson's body from Severn to Hanover. Police officials said they knew of no motive for the killing.

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