News from around the Baltimore region

July 22, 2005

Man admitted helping with body, says officer


A man on trial for murder in the death of a 15-year-old Woodlawn girl admitted last July to helping dispose of her body but denied a role in the killing, a Baltimore County homicide detective testified yesterday.

Testifying in the trial of Ogden E. "G-Wizz" Coleman, Det. Gary Childs told a jury that Coleman, when interviewed by police, at first denied knowing anything about the killing of 15-year-old Quartrina K. Johnson, whose body was found burning in Gwynnvale Park last July. Coleman later told Childs that he saw two of his friends beat the girl, and that he helped them dispose of the body, the detective testified.

Childs was the last witness to testify in Coleman's trial in Baltimore County Circuit Court on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The prosecution contends that Coleman and three other men killed the girl because she was a potential witness in a statutory rape case against one of the men.

Two co-defendants who have pleaded guilty in the killing testified against Coleman this week, saying he choked the girl. A fourth man charged in the case is to go on trial next week.

Coleman's attorney, Marshall T. Henslee, has said that the men decided to blame Coleman for the killing because he was arrested first and they believed he gave information to police.

However, Childs testified yesterday that at one point while he questioned Coleman, the man said he didn't want to tell the detective what happened because he was afraid of Jason Richards, the man scheduled to go on trial next week, and didn't want to testify against him.

Closing statements are scheduled for this morning before Judge Patrick Cavanaugh.

- Anica Butler


Detective testifies slain kids' family was `uncooperative'

One of the Baltimore homicide detectives who investigated the slashing deaths of three Mexican children last year testified in court yesterday that family members had been "uncooperative."

In cross-examination in the trial of the two men charged, Detective Juan Diaz also told jurors that a Pontiac Grand Am connected to the defendants had apparently been tampered with while in police custody.

Policarpio Espinoza, 23, and Adan Canela, 18, are on trial in Baltimore Circuit Court facing three counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy charges in the May 27, 2004, deaths of Lucero Espinoza, 8, her 9-year-old brother Ricardo Espinoza, and their 10-year-old male cousin Alexis Espejo Quezada.

Diaz said yesterday that sometime after police did initial searches of Espinoza's car, someone broke into the trunk while it was stored. The detective said the trunk, which had earlier been "quite a mess," was neat and orderly when police tried to look for more evidence on Oct. 26.

Diaz, who was questioned by Espinoza's attorney, Timothy M. Dixon, said family members refused to talk to him when he and immigration officials raided their Fallstaff home last August.

"The whole family is being uncooperative with us," Diaz said.

Diaz's cross-examination will continue this morning.

-- Julie Bykowicz


Police seek public's help in finding missing man, 58

Baltimore County police yesterday asked for the public's help in finding a Dundalk man missing since last month.

Gary Edward Adams, 58, of the 2000 block of Codd Ave., has not contacted his family or friends since June 17, police said.

Officers were called to Adams' home by his landlord July 7, police said. That same day, investigators found Adams' 1998 green Ford Explorer in front of the Rite Aid in Merritt Point Park, police said.

Adams is described as 5 feet, 4 inches tall, 150 pounds with gray hair and blue eyes. Police ask anyone with information to call 410-307-2020.

-- Danny Jacobs


One of 2 convicted in killing of trooper is denied new trial

One of two men convicted in the 1990 killing of a Maryland State Police corporal has been denied the possibility of a new trial, the Howard County state's attorney's office announced yesterday.

Howard County Circuit Judge Diane O. Leasure denied the post-conviction-relief request by Eric Tirado, 41, who is serving life without parole at the Maryland House of Correction in Jessup.

In 1991, Tirado was convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Cpl. Theodore Wolf during a traffic stop on Interstate 95.

"This is enormously important that the murderer of a Maryland state trooper should never see the light of day," said Howard County State's Attorney Timothy J. McCrone.

The second defendant, Francisco Rodriguez, is completing a 15-year sentence.

-- Laura Cadiz


Health department lifts advisory for Lake Ogleton

Anne Arundel County officials have lifted a health advisory for Lake Ogleton, southeast of Annapolis, after test results show the lake in "good condition," officials said.

The health department issued the advisory after a July 14 sewer main break spilled wastewater into the lake.


Bridge walk scheduled to return next spring

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