Tenant of Kaufman is charged in attack on Senate candidate

Suspect, found at halfway house, charged with attempted murder in assault at victim's apartment

June 18, 2005|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

A 42-year-old man who rented an apartment from A. Robert Kaufman was arrested yesterday and charged with trying to kill the long-shot candidate for U.S. Senate, Baltimore police said.

Police charged Leon Henry Davis with attempted first-degree murder. The 74-year-old landlord was clubbed over the head and stabbed Monday in his West Baltimore home.

"I'm relieved that he's not on the street," Kaufman said yesterday while recovering at his home.

Shortly after the attack, Kaufman identified the attacker as a tenant of Apartment 1C in the building in the 2000 block of N. Hilton St. where he lives and rents apartments. But Kaufman did not know the man's name, police said. When Kaufman was able to look at photos, police said, he identified the suspect.

Detectives discovered that the suspect and one of his sisters had lived in Apartment 1C. They tracked down that sister, as well as another sister, according to police documents. Through interviews, they discovered Davis had checked into Bon Secours Hospital on Monday, was released Wednesday and was admitted to New Life Recovery House in the 1800 block of Druid Hill Ave.

About 3 a.m. yesterday, detectives found Davis on the second floor of New Life and arrested him, police said. Davis was taken to Central Booking and Intake Center.

Kaufman, who was released from Maryland Shock Trauma Center on Thursday, said the suspect had moved in last month and had told him he was leaving to check into a heroin-rehabilitation program.

He said the tenant had recently forced him to buy tools for $20, borrowed another $20 and came back Monday to ask for $20 more.

The suspect then offered to pay half of his overdue $400 monthly rent, Kaufman said. He said he was reaching for his ledger of rental accounts when he was clubbed over the head with a crowbar. Kaufman said he gave the attacker $200, in hopes of ending the assault, and he was stabbed in the neck.

Kaufman, a frequent critic of police, said detectives did "OK" in working on his case.

A socialist, he is a perennial candidate for public office. Recently, he launched a campaign for the seat of Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, who is retiring.

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