Harford Week

February 02, 2003

Death warrant signed for killer of Harford woman

A Baltimore County judge paved the way last week for Maryland's first execution in nearly five years when he agreed to sign a death warrant for convicted murderer Steven H. Oken.

It is the first capital case to move forward under Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., whose entry into office effectively ended the state's moratorium on the death penalty.

Oken was convicted in the 1987 murder of Dawn Marie Garvin, a Joppatowne High school graduate. Garvin, 20, was living in a White Marsh apartment and taking classes at Harford Community College at the time of her death.

The death sentence is to be carried out by lethal injection the week of March 17.

In a separate development, Sen. Nancy Jacobs, a Harford County Republican, introduced a bill in the General Assembly that would require the state to seek capital murder charges in every case that meets the requirements, except when the victim's family objects. She named the bill "Dawn's Law," after Oken's victim.

The signing of Oken's death warrant hasn't brought any sense of closure to Betty Romano, Garvin's mother, yet.

"I have heard his lawyers are running around like crazy trying to find a way to prevent this from happening," she said.

EAI Corp. commended for contracting work

EAI Corp. in Abingdon has been recertified into the Army's Contractor Performance Certification Program, a highly selective program established to promote quality performance in government contracting.

EAI Corp. was the first Maryland corporation in the service field to receive this award.

The award was presented to EAI by Maj. Gen. John Doesburg, commanding general of the U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Defense Command, last week at the company's corporate headquarters, 1308 Continental Drive, Suite J, in Abingdon.

Joppa man 1 of 2 killed in Balto. County crash

Terrence Joseph Reddy, 55, of the 1100 block of Plaza Circle, Joppa, was killed Jan. 26 in a three-vehicle crash on Philadelphia Road, just south of the Harford County line.

Also killed was William Joseph Bitzelberger, 51, of the 4800 block of Brightleaf Court in White Marsh.

Injured was Brian Hodgson, of the first block of High Button Court in Perry Hall.

Reddy was driving north on Philadelphia Road when his 1993 Toyota Camry crossed the center line and struck Bitzelberger's 1998 Dodge Neon head-on, police said. Hodgson's 1998 Honda Accord then struck Bitzelberger's car from behind, police said.

Parents sue Aberdeen over inmate's death

The parents of Michael Scott Seaman, who hanged himself in a holding cell at the Aberdeen Police Department three years ago, have filed a wrongful-death suit seeking at least $3 million from the city.

Seaman had been taken into custody in an alleged incident of domestic violence at his home in the 100 block of Robin Hood Road in Aberdeen on Jan. 9, 2000.

Seaman's parents, Robert and Carolyn Seaman, named Aberdeen and its Police Department, Harford County and the sheriff's office, and four police officers in charge of Seaman's care while he was jailed as defendants.

New fitness club opens in Bel Air

The Arena Club opened last week in Bel Air. The 60,000- square-foot club brings the latest in health and wellness technology and training to Harford County.

The club offers a rubberized floor in the gym, heated locker room floors and a waterfall integrated into its whirlpool. Other amenities include:

Indoor sports field with turf designed to accommodate any field sport, from soccer to lacrosse, field hockey and baseball.

Wellness center offering classes in yoga, Pilates and tai chi.

Cardio theater offering cardiovascular training.

Aquatics center with a warm-water therapy pool.

Keith and Kathy Rawlings, owners of the Harford Health and Fitness Club in Aberdeen, and David Bradshaw, formerly with the Bel Air Athletic Club and now The Arena manager, are partners in the facility.

The club is at 2304 Churchville Road.

For information, program schedules and more, call the club at 410-734-7300 or visit www.thearenaclub.com.

17th-century house razed in Creswell

The Little Stone House on Shucks Road in Creswell, one of six structures in Harford County built in the 17th century, was razed last week.

No permit was issued for the building's demolition, said Chad Shrodes, the county's preservation planner. "It was on the Historical Preservation Committee's agenda to talk to these owners," but the building was gone before any action could be taken, Shrodes said.

The Little Stone House was built in 1680.

Shrodes said he is working with county officials to find out who owns the property and who tore the house down.

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