Police suspect bodies found in home those of county...


May 01, 2002

Police suspect bodies found in home those of county couple

County police suspect that the two bodies found Sunday inside a Cape St. Claire home are those of the couple who lived there, but how they died remains a mystery, authorities said yesterday.

A police spokesman said that investigators have found no signs of a break-in and no obvious wounds to the bodies. An autopsy by the medical examiner's office proved inconclusive, and police are waiting for the results of tests to show whether the two had ingested deadly substances, the police said.

Because of the extent of the bodies' decomposition, police have yet to conclusively establish their identities.

A police spokesman said yesterday that the investigation has led investigators to believe that they are probably the bodies of John Binetti, 51, and his wife, Elaine Binetti, 52, who have owned the split-foyer house in the 1100 block of Bayview Vista Drive since 1991.

Police believe that the pair has been dead for several weeks. Police discovered them Sunday after a neighbor expressed concern about not seeing the couple for some time. John Binetti had worked as a maritime lawyer for the Washington firm of Berliner, Candon & Jimison. Roger Berliner, the firm's founder, said Binetti had worked for the firm in the late 1990s, left briefly for a job with the Pentagon's Military Sealift Command, and then returned to the firm in February to help represent the government of Guam in a case.

Binetti's last day on the job was March 21.

Berliner would not comment on the circumstances of Binetti's departure, but said that Elaine Binetti had been ill.

"I know that she was not well and that he was very concerned about her," he said yesterday. "He was a devoted husband who loved his wife deeply."

Girl, 15, found delinquent in racially motivated crime

An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge found a 15-year-old girl delinquent yesterday in the racially motivated robbery and beating of an Annapolis waitress, in what prosecutors said was the first successful application of a hate-crime law in the county.

The girl, one of five teen-agers accused in the attack on Tracy VanDagna, 22, in July last year, was found delinquent on 14 charges. Judge Pamela L. North said she will decide the teen-ager's fate this month.

Assistant State's Attorney Daniel Andrews said he expects to ask North to commit the youth to a Department of Juvenile Justice facility. Assistant public defender Jeremiah J. Sullivan said his client was innocent and has no criminal record.

The Sun does not name juveniles accused of crimes.

One teen-ager already has been committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice in connection with the attack. Disposition for two others is pending and one has yet to come to court, Andrews said.

Andrews argued that the teen-agers, who are black, agreed to target a white or Hispanic victim.

They kicked and robbed VanDagna, who is white, and struck her so severely with a rock that she required reconstructive facial surgery, he said.

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