In Baltimore City Man, 24, convicted of murder, robbery...


March 07, 2002|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

In Baltimore City

Man, 24, convicted of murder, robbery in 1999 crime spree

A 24-year-old Baltimore man was convicted on murder, robbery and handgun charges yesterday in the city's Circuit Court in connection with a 1999 crime spree in Northeast Baltimore that left a transgendered community activist dead.

After two hours of deliberations, a jury found Matthew Harper of the 1900 block of Crestview Road guilty of second-degree murder and the other charges. Sentencing was scheduled May 8.

Prosecutors said Harper fatally shot Tacy Raino Ranta, 50, of the 4400 block of Parkside Drive during a four-hour crime spree in which the defendant and three others committed four carjackings and robbed several people. Evidence at trial showed that Harper shot Ranta, a transsexual, in the chest as she struggled to keep her pocketbook from Harper. The former city schoolteacher was co-founder of Tranquility, a support group for people interested in changing their gender.

The co-defendants -- Cory Alvin Tutt of the 1600 block of Burnwood Road, Davon Alston of the 1900 block of Burnwood Road and Renyse Jones of the 2600 block of N. Dukeland St. -- pleaded guilty earlier to second-degree murder and carjacking charges.

One killed, two injured in Cold Spring Lane crash

One person was killed and two others were seriously injured last night after a speeding car went out of control on West Cold Spring Lane near the Northern District police station and landed on top of another vehicle, authorities said.

Police Lt. Paul Sheppard of the Traffic Investigation Section said a late-model Lincoln Mark 8 automobile was westbound in the 2200 block of W. Cold Spring Lane about 10 p.m. when the driver failed to negotiate a curve, entered the opposite lane, became airborne and landed on top of an eastbound Chevrolet Cavalier.

Sheppard said one of two men in the Lincoln was dead at the scene, and the other was taken to Sinai Hospital. The driver of the Cavalier -- a woman who was its sole occupant -- was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The victims' names were not immediately released.

Woman hit by firetruck is in critical condition

A 38-year-old woman was critically injured yesterday when she was struck by a city Fire Department pumper truck on its way from the Old Town station to a reported fire at an East Baltimore dwelling.

Michael Maybin, a Fire Department spokesman, said the four-man vehicle was traveling on Ensor Street at Forrest Street about 4:30 p.m. when it struck Deborah Hamilton, whose address was not available. Witnesses said she appeared to be jogging across the intersection, and the vehicle's emergency equipment was operating, Maybin said.

Hamilton suffered internal injuries and was in critical condition last night at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The accident remained under investigation.

Couple's alma mater to honor philanthropy

Baltimore philanthropists Eddie C. and Sylvia Brown will receive Howard University's Distinguished Alumni Award in the field of business during its 135th annual Charter Day Gala on Saturday night at the Hilton Washington and Towers Hotel.

Eddie Brown, founder and president of Baltimore-based Brown Capital Management Inc., and his wife, who was instrumental in the company's growth, graduated from the university in 1961 and 1962, respectively, and are being honored for their business acumen and mentoring future generations of business leaders.

The couple's philanthropy has included a $250,000 gift last year to the Howard University School of Business to endow the Brown Capital Management Fund and Lecture Series. The Brown family has donated millions of dollars in Baltimore for such purposes as helping African-American middle-school children, the Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

In Baltimore County

BARC changing its name to The Arc of Baltimore

STONELEIGH -- The Baltimore Association for Retarded Citizens is changing its name to The Arc of Baltimore -- dropping use of a word seen as "misused" and "associated with unpleasant, often hurtful experiences," the organization announced yesterday.

The name "Arc" follows the lead of other organizations across the nation that serve the developmentally disabled and have made the change. The local group will take the step at a name change celebration from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow at its Stoneleigh headquarters, 7215 York Road.

Information: 410-296-2272.

Man, granddaughter reported missing

RANDALLSTOWN -- Area police were seeking a 1-year-old girl and her grandfather last night -- both last reported seen Monday evening when they left their Randallstown home in the man's minivan. Foul play was not suspected, police said.

Cpl. Ron Brooks, a Baltimore County police spokesman, said Kayla Olivia Ford and her grandfather, Louis Ford, 47, left the house in the 8400 block of Lucerne Road about 6 p.m. in his 1995 Honda Odyssey with tags 505384M.

The girl was wearing a pink fleece sweat suit decorated with flowers. The man was wearing dark clothing. Anyone with information was asked to call county police at 410-307-2020.

Police trying to find robber who held up Sun Trust Bank

TOWSON -- Baltimore County police are looking for a robber who held up a Pikesville bank.

The robber entered Sun Trust Bank in the 1700 block of Reisterstown Road about 1:40 p.m. Tuesday and approached a teller with a note, demanding money. The robber put the money in a bag and ran out of the bank.

Anyone with information is asked to call police, 410-307-2020, or Metro Crime Stoppers, 410-276- 8888.

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