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News from around the Baltimore region

April 16, 2005

Grand jury indicts Allen in killing of JHU senior

BALTIMORE

A grand jury indicted Donta Maurice Allen yesterday on first-degree murder and first-degree burglary charges in the January killing of a Johns Hopkins senior.

Prosecutors said that Allen, 27, broke into Linda Trinh's Charles Street apartment Jan. 22 and strangled her. Trinh, a biomedical engineering major and popular Alpha Phi sorority sister, was found dead in her bathroom.

Police arrested Allen on March 23, and he gave a statement to police in which he admitted breaking into the apartment but denied killing Trinh, his lawyer said. Allen was dating Trinh's sorority sister and was a frequent visitor to the building where Trinh and his girlfriend lived, police said.

Trinh and her roommates had told Allen to stay away from their apartment, but he apparently broke in several times over the winter break, prosecutors said in court at his bail review hearing last month.

Allen is being held without bail at the city jail. He is scheduled to be arraigned May 11 before Circuit Judge Wanda K. Heard.

-- Julie Bykowicz

BALTIMORE

Slain woman, male friend had been abducted at motel

The 26-year-old Dundalk woman found dead this week in Clifton Park had been abducted with a friend from an East Baltimore motel, city police said yesterday. The woman was killed and left in the park, and the man was shot but escaped.

About 1 a.m. Thursday, the 44-year-old man ran to a home in the 5100 block of Goodnow Road, said Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman. Residents called 911 and the man was taken to an undisclosed hospital. He had been shot in the buttock and right arm, and he had a graze wound to the head. He told police that his companion, Amber Lowe, was also missing, Moses said.

The man said that he and Lowe had met friends at a motel in the 6400 block of Pulaski Highway, where they were robbed at gunpoint and driven in separate vehicles. About 6:30 a.m. Thursday, city workers preparing the golf course found a woman's body a few feet off Indian Head Road in Clifton Park. The woman was later identified as Lowe of the 200 block of Pinewood Road in Dundalk.

Police were searching yesterday for at least three people involved in the attacks. Police would not release the wounded man's name and declined to provide details about the purpose of the meeting at the motel.

Lowe's husband, Robert, said yesterday that she was the mother of three children, a 3-year-old girl, a 4-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy.

- Ryan Davis

BALTIMORE

Liquor inspector loses bid for immediate return to work

Baltimore's top liquor inspector - who filed a complaint in court accusing four members of the Board of Liquor License Commissioners of corruption - was unsuccessful in his efforts to immediately return to work.

Chief liquor inspector Samuel T. Daniels Jr.'s request that a Baltimore Circuit Court judge allow him to return to work immediately was denied Thursday, according to Daniels' attorney, Arthur Frank. A date for a regular hearing on Daniels' suspension has yet to be set.

Daniels contends that two liquor board members broke the rules when they suspended him March 21. He has said that board policy requires that the chairman of the board, Mark Fosler, approve such a decision. Fosler tried to delay the suspension decision.

The board's executive secretary, Nathan C. Irby Jr., attended the emergency hearing yesterday and said he was disappointed that the personnel matter had become public. Irby said that Daniels would be allowed to return to work April 25 but that he would be on probation for six months.

- Lynn Anderson

HOWARD COUNTY

Judge defers ruling on bail in killing of Loyola student

A Howard County Circuit Court judge deferred ruling on prosecutors' motions to revoke or increase the bail bond for Melissa Burch Harton, who was indicted by a Howard County grand jury last week in the March 9 strangulation death of friend and fellow Loyola College doctoral student Natasha Bacchus.

Judge Lenore Gelfman ordered a background investigation by the Maryland Department of Parole and Probation to assist her in making a final ruling, and issued an order for home confinement and electronic monitoring during the interim.

Harton, 25, of the 5600 block of Columbia Road in Columbia, was originally charged with second-degree murder and assault charges when she was arrested last month. But this month, a grand jury issued an indictment on the more serious charge of first-degree murder. Bail had been set at $100,000.

During her arraignment, Harton's attorney, Michael E. Kaminkow, entered a plea of not guilty and asked for a jury trial.

BALTIMORE

Tomorrow's run/walk to aid children's foundation

The Ninth Annual Home Depot "Port-to-Fort" Run/Walk is scheduled tomorrow, starting and ending at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

Proceeds from the 6-kilometer run/walk will benefit the Believe in Tomorrow National Children's Foundation.

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