City police honor slain comrade

Detective memorialized with ceremony, plaque

November 19, 2003|By Matt Whittaker | Matt Whittaker,SUN STAFF

Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark Baltimore Detective Thomas G. Newman left his khaki sport jacket on the back of his chair before walking out of the Baltimore City Police Department fraud unit one Friday last November. Hours later, in what authorities contend was a revenge killing, he was shot execution-style as he left a southeast city tavern.

As Newman's family and fellow police officers gathered yesterday in the atrium of Baltimore police headquarters for a memorial ceremony honoring the slain detective, his jacket still rested on the back of his chair two floors above - an everyday memorial.

"We just never took it off," said Detective Kelvin Corbin of the fraud division. "It stayed there. Nobody bothers it. They know it belonged to him."

Charged in Newman's death are Raymond Saunders of Halethorpe and Jonan J. House and Anthony Brown, both of Baltimore. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Saunders and House, accused of shooting the 12-year police veteran. Brown, accused of driving the getaway car, could be sentenced to life in prison without parole if convicted.

Mayor Martin O'Malley and police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark presented Newman's family with a plaque that will adorn the walls of police headquarters.

"He was a good guy, and he was one of us," said Clark, who arrived in Baltimore about three months after Newman's death. "There's no other job that makes you go against other human beings, evil human beings, who can make you pay the ultimate price. He made a difference."

Newman's mother, Theresa Newman, called the ceremony a "wonderful" tribute to her son.

"He deserved every bit of this," she said of the memorial that included songs, eulogies, and presentation of the plaque and the department's Medal of Honor to Newman's family. Fellow officers sat in front of a large photograph of the detective.

"Couldn't ask for anything more beautiful," she said.

The attack Nov. 23 last year was the second time that Newman had been shot. In April 2001, he survived an ambush in which he was shot twice in the neck. He returned to work with the warrant apprehension squad, tracking down some of the city's most violent fugitives. Two men, one them the half-brother of Saunders, were convicted of attempted murder for shooting the off-duty officer and were sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Last year, Newman became a fraud investigator, and although the job appeared to be less dangerous, he apparently remained a target. Police say the 37-year- old detective was shot last year because of testimony he gave about the April 2001 shooting.

As Newman walked out of Joe's Tavern in the 1000 block of Dundalk Ave., he was gunned down by two men who kept firing as they stood over his body, according to police.

"It's sad to know it was a form of retaliation that took him away from us," said Lt. Osborne McCarter, who wiped away tears at the ceremony.

Rena Martin, Newman's sister, said that the ceremony was touching, but she continues to mourn him.

"This is a very difficult day," she said. "It seems like it opens up wounds. It's hard to see my brother's picture there and not hope he'll come walking through the door. ... It's good to know they still keep his jacket where he left it."

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