Arundel maintains successful closure rate in homicides

One case remains open out of 15 killings in 2002

no leads in October death

January 03, 2003|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

Of the 15 homicides in Annapolis and the rest of Anne Arundel County last year, police closed or made an arrest in all but one - the October death of a homeless man in the state capital.

The homicide and closure rates mirror those of recent years in a county where the number of violent crimes is much lower than in the major cities nearby.

"We compare very well with what borders us," said Sgt. David Waltemeyer, who supervises the county's homicide unit. "Hopefully, law enforcement here has something to do with our low numbers."

Baltimore, which shares a border with Anne Arundel, posted 253 homicides last year, and Washington's homicide total was 262, according to spokesmen for the police departments.

Prince George's County, which also borders Anne Arundel, had 136 homicides last year, and Anne Arundel's northwestern neighbor, Howard County, which is roughly half its population, had seven homicides last year.

Waltemeyer supervises five homicide detectives, who investigated 11 cases last year, two more than in 2001 and 2000, according to crime statistics.

Annapolis does not a have a homicide unit, but eight criminal investigators there have tackled four homicides - the same number as in 2001 and twice as many as in 2000.

When investigating a major violent crime, such as the fatal carjacking in September in the city's historic district, Annapolis police are sometimes assisted by other agencies.

Straughan Lee Griffin, 51, was shot and run over as his Jeep Grand Cherokee was stolen from his driveway in Annapolis' historic district.

Aided by the FBI and the state's attorney's office, Annapolis police arrested two teen-agers - Leeander Jerome Blake and Terrence Tolbert, both of the 1300 block of Tyler Ave. - about a month later.

Both teens were indicted in November on first-degree murder charges, but no trial date has been set.

Another fatal shooting, in Glen Burnie, happened less than two weeks after the start of last year. Laverne Browning, 70, and her daughter-in-law, Tamie Browning, 36, were killed and placed in the trunk of the younger Browning's white sedan.

Police charged Kenneth E. Abend, 40, with two counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, and a four-week trial is scheduled to begin in late July.

And a deadly shooting, this one in April, was closed with an arrest within an hour after 16-year-old Dan Allen Johnson Jr. was fatally wounded in Annapolis.

Two teen-agers, Charles Nathaniel Allen and Larry Eugene Adams were charged with first-degree murder.

The only officially open case from last year in either the county or city remains the October beating death of Joseph Alexander Tasker, 40. The homeless man was found on Stewart one of the city's more wealthy neighborhoods

Officer Hal Dalton, spokesman for the Annapolis police, said investigators have no leads.

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