Lutherville man charged in killing of father at home

February 11, 2003|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,SUN STAFF

The son of a 66-year-old Lutherville retiree was charged yesterday in the fatal beating of his father during an apparent argument in their home during the weekend.

John R. Kauffman III, 38, is being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on first-degree murder charges, county police spokesman Shawn Vinson said.

Vinson said the suspect's father, John R. Kauffman, was bludgeoned to death. Police said they are not disclosing the weapon used in the killing.

The younger Kauffman surrendered to heavily armed tactical squad officers Sunday after a tear gas shell was fired into the house in the 100 block of Westbury Road, a quiet suburban neighborhood with nicely kept single-family homes.

Police were trying yesterday to determine a motive for the killing. The son had lived with his father for more than a year, neighbors said.

"We've been told by witnesses that the son did have some psychological problems, but that has not led us anywhere yet," the spokesman said.

While detectives continued their investigation, neighbors of the father and son were trying to make sense of the killing.

"Ray, the father, was a quiet and friendly man," said next-door neighbor Lucille D'Onofrio. "He was the kind of man who would help you if you needed help, just a pleasant man."

She said the son did painting at her house, "and it was just a fine job. Everybody thought they got along fine."

Neighbor June Royer said the senior Kauffman had lived in the neighborhood nearly 10 years, first in an apartment and then in the house he purchased several years ago.

"We didn't know the son at all, and we just exchanged greetings with the father," Royer said. "The father liked to work on his truck and a van that he kept at the house.

"He was also a hunter and there were guns in the house," she added. "This is just so bizarre; you never know what's going to happen anymore, even on your street."

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