Metro

CITY/COUNTY DIGEST

News from around the Baltimore region

June 07, 2005

ANNE ARUNDEL

Carjacker gets 30 years on kidnapping charges

A Chesapeake Beach man serving 40 years in prison for yanking a mother from her sport utility vehicle and speeding off in it was sentenced yesterday to 30 years more for kidnapping the owner's two toddlers, who were in the vehicle as he led police on a high-speed chase through five Maryland counties in 2003.

Carl Eugene Jones Jr., 33, screamed at Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Paul G. Goetzke after the judge did not go along with his request to get him drug treatment and not add more time to his prison term. He called the judge a disgrace and, as sheriff's deputies led him from the courtroom, said Goetzke deserved to be in a wheelchair, according to the prosecutor in the case. The judge has been a quadriplegic since a 2000 diving accident.

FOR THE RECORD - A Metro Digest item yesterday incorrectly characterized the actions of the Baltimore City Council in requiring an audit of the state's attorney's office. While some council members indicated they support such a requirement, the full council did not approve it.

Jones maintained yesterday, as he did in his trial, that he was so high on PCP and crack cocaine July 15, 2003, that he had no idea that the children, ages 3 years and 18 months, were in the Mercedes SUV. But the victim testified that Jones had asked her son for her cell phone.

In December, a Montgomery County judge sentenced Jones to 40 years for carjacking and assault. A jury there was unable to reach a verdict on the kidnapping charges.

Jones led police at speeds of up to 130 mph during the chase that began in West Baltimore when police said they saw him at the wheel of a stolen green Infiniti.

The Infiniti was running out of gas near Potomac, and, as a police officer watched from a helicopter, Jones flagged down SUV driver Marna Plaia of Great Falls, Va., yanked her from the vehicle and drove off, despite her pleas that he not take her children, who were in the back seat.

The chase ended nearly two hours later when Jones rammed a police cruiser on U.S. 50 near Bowie.

- Andrea F. Siegel

BALTIMORE CITY

Release from jail denied for officer in corruption case

A federal judge denied release yesterday to a Baltimore police officer charged with shaking down drug dealers for his own profit, saying that the evidence in the police corruption case "seems quite strong."

Officer William A. King appealed an earlier detention order from U.S. District Magistrate Judge James K. Bredar after King's arrest last month. But District Judge J. Frederick Motz upheld the original order.

Federal prosecutors told Motz they have extensive wiretapping recordings that prove King, 35, and his partner, Antonio Murray, ran an illegal operation targeting vulnerable drug addicts while working as city housing police officers.

Both officers have pleaded not guilty to the five-count criminal indictment. A trial date has not been scheduled.

- Matthew Dolan

WOODLAWN

Police investigating death of man, 35, in his home

Police are investigating the case of a man who was found dead in his Woodlawn home.

Robert Jerome Johnson, 35, was found in the 5900 block of Gwynn Oak Ave. on Saturday, police said. A spokesman said the department is not releasing details about how Johnson was killed.

Police went to Johnson's home when a family member called after Johnson's minivan was found in flames in the 1700 block of Braddish Ave. on Friday, police said.

Johnson's death is the 14th homicide in Baltimore County this year, police said.

- Anica Butler

ELDERSBURG

Elementary pupil dies of bacterial meningitis

A 9-year-old Carroll County child has died of bacterial meningitis, a contagious disease that is spread by direct contact with an infected person.

The girl, a fourth-grader at Linton Springs Elementary School in Eldersburg, attended classes Friday. She became ill Saturday and died Sunday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Blood cultures taken at Carroll Hospital Center's emergency room confirmed yesterday that the child was infected with of Neisseria meningitidis, the bacterial strain of the disease, health officials said.

Carroll County health officials received numerous calls yesterday from parents whose children might have come in contact with the victim.

Meningitis is a contagious disease that mainly affects children and young adults. Bacterial meningitis is spread through contact with the saliva of an infected individual. The disease can be contracted through kissing or by sharing a drink or an eating utensil. The bacteria infect the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord and can cause serious blood infections.

Any child who may have had direct contact with the girl should be treated with the antibiotic Rifampin, officials said. The Health Department sent letters home with third-, fourth- and fifth-graders yesterday, providing information about the antibiotic and urging parents to contact their pediatricians if their children had come in contact with the victim.

Health officials did not identify the victim.

"We cannot by law identify the child, but whenever a child dies at a school, it becomes common knowledge fairly quickly," said Debbie Middleton, the county Health Department's director of communicable diseases.

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