News from around the Baltimore region

April 26, 2005


Guilty plea in fatal shooting of boy, 14

An off-duty state Health Department officer pleaded guilty yesterday to involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old boy who he said had been trying to break into his storage shed.

After spotting two youths with bolt cutters near his shed last August, Ronald Edward Johnson Sr., 32, grabbed his gun and shot D'Koy Dancy from the second-story window of his home in the 5000 block of Lindsey Road in Southwest Baltimore, police and prosecutors said.

Johnson told Baltimore police officers that the gun accidentally fired when he stumbled over clutter in his son's bedroom and fell into the window screen, according to court documents.

Dancy was shot once in the back. Johnson rushed downstairs, asked his wife to call 911 and gave the boy CPR, court documents state. But the boy was pronounced dead at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

At the time of the shooting, Johnson was an officer with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene at the Spring Grove Hospital Center.

Johnson, who had originally been charged with second-degree murder, is scheduled to be sentenced in June and faces a maximum possible prison term of 10 years. He is free on $50,000 bail.

- Julie Bykowicz


Baltimore teen faces life term in killing of Parkville man

A Baltimore teenager faces the possibility of life in prison in the 2003 fatal shooting of a Parkville man.

Eric Gerard Atkinson, 17, who is believed to have been a member of the Death Squad, a gang that roamed the streets in stolen cars robbing people at random, pleaded guilty Friday in Baltimore County Circuit Court to one count of first-degree murder, lawyers in the case said. Atkinson was the gunman in the September 2003 death of Kozar Tyrone Goode, 18, police and prosecutors said.

Charges of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon and use of a handgun in a crime were dismissed, said Deputy State's Attorney Stephen Bailey. Atkinson is to be sentenced June 1.

Goode was walking from a friend's house to his parents' home in Parkville when he was shot in the back after refusing to hand over his money and backpack to Atkinson, his brother Damon Gerard Atkinson and friend Ronald Deondre Evans, according to police and prosecutors. Evans, who was convicted of first-degree murder by a Baltimore County jury in February, is also scheduled to be sentenced June 1.

Damon Atkinson, 21, of Baltimore pleaded guilty in January to first-degree murder, admitting that he was driving a minivan with Evans and his brother when Goode was shot. He was sentenced to life in prison.

-- Laura Barnhardt


Blaze in apartment building remains under investigation

Baltimore fire investigators continue to seek the source and cause of a multi-alarm fire Sunday night that extensively damaged several dwellings in a Northwest city apartment building.

No injuries were reported among the few residents who were home at the time of the fire, said Chief Kevin Cartwright, a Fire Department spokesman.

Reported at 11 p.m., the fire went to three alarms and broke through the roof of a third-floor apartment in the 2700 block of Jeremy Court at the Pickwick East Apartments, sending heavy smoke throughout the area, Cartwright said.

At least four apartments on the lower floors were damaged by smoke and water, he said.

More than 100 firefighters manning 30 pieces of equipment brought the fire under control shortly before midnight, Cartwright said.

The city's Neighborhood Services aided residents displaced by the fire, Cartwright said.


Towson lawyer is sentenced in property flipping scheme

A Towson attorney has been sentenced to a year and one day in prison for participating in a plan to defraud mortgage lenders in a property flipping scheme in Baltimore, federal prosecutors announced.

U.S. District Judge Andre M. Davis, at a hearing this month, also imposed two years of supervised release for the defendant, Nicholas J. Pistolas, 64, and ordered him to pay $62,250 to the Community Law Center in Baltimore.

Court papers said Pistolas of Baltimore and three co-defendants engaged in property flipping by using fraudulent settlements through All County Title in Bel Air. All County was owned and run by Pistolas and a co-defendant. Another co-defendant was an investor who participated in the scheme to defraud mortgage lenders and falsified loan applications, according to prosecutors.

-- Matthew Dolan


Mt. Vernon cultural district guided tours to be offered

History buffs can take guided tours of the Mount Vernon cultural district beginning Saturday.

Guides will share stories of former residents and point out architectural highlights in what was once Baltimore's wealthiest neighborhood.

Tours will be offered every Saturday through Oct. 29 beginning at 10 a.m. They depart from the lobby of the Peabody Court Hotel, 612 Cathedral St.

Reservations are required. For more information or to make a reservation, call Marion at 410-889-0894, or e-mail


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