Essex man arrested in fatal beating

Murder charge is filed in homeless man's death

Suspect admitted role, police say

July 06, 2004|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County police said yesterday that they charged a 39-year-old Essex man with murder in the fatal beating of a homeless man after the victim insulted the suspect's girlfriend.

James Edward Johnson of the 1600 block of Dartford Road was being held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center, said police Sgt. Edward Forbes. The arrest, which happened over the weekend but was announced yesterday, was made in the beating death Friday night of Keith Albert Lusby, a homeless man, police said.

Lusby, 48, had family in Essex and was known to wander in that area. He was found severely beaten about 9:20 p.m. Friday behind an Amoco gas station in the 100 block of Back River Neck Road, police said.

A witness to the crime, whom police did not identify, told investigators that a man matching Johnson's description had become angry at Lusby and attacked him after Lusby said something negative about the man's girlfriend, police said.

Police went to Johnson's home on Dartford Road and saw someone throw a plastic bag out of the rear window. When investigators opened the bag, they found a pair of bloody boots, Forbes said.

Investigators knocked on the door of the home, and when Johnson answered, police observed that he was bleeding from the knuckles on his right hand, Forbes said.

Detectives took Johnson to police headquarters for questioning. He told police that he had gotten into an argument with Lusby and beaten him, Forbes said.

The state medical examiner's office determined that Lusby had suffered fatal head injuries.

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