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News From Around The Baltimore Region

September 08, 2005

BALTIMORE COUNTY

Jury selected for trial of teen in mall killing

A Baltimore County jury of nine women, three men and two alternates was selected yesterday and is scheduled to hear opening statements this morning in the case of Javon Clark, one of two teenagers charged with murder in the shotgun killing of a St. Paul's School educator in a parking garage at Towson Town Center.

Clark, 18, of Middle River, and John Edward Kennedy, also 18, of Essex, were arrested two days after the Feb. 18 shooting of 58-year-old William A. Bassett as a result of a witness tip, authorities said. The witness heard a loud bang coming from the mall garage the night of the shooting and jotted down the license plate number of a car in the area. That information led investigators to Clark, police said.

Kennedy told police that he shot Bassett during a botched robbery attempt and said Clark was driving the getaway car, according to charging documents.

Clark told investigators in a taped interview that was played in Baltimore County Circuit Court last month that he drove Kennedy to the mall and that Kennedy later told him he fired the gun because he thought Bassett "disrespected" him.

-- Lisa Goldberg

ANNE ARUNDEL

Agreement signed to raise black students' achievement

Members of the Anne Arundel County school board, the superintendent and leaders in the black community signed an agreement yesterday that pledges to raise the academic achievement of the county's African-American students.

The agreement, the result of a federal civil rights complaint filed last year by a group of black community leaders, is a six-page document that calls for the superintendent to achieve a set of academic and safety goals for black students. The agreement also calls for the creation of an advisory committee to the superintendent and two annual public forums.

The signing of the agreement was emotional for some who were involved in filing the original complaint.

"It's a historic moment in Anne Arundel County, the state and the nation," said Carlesa R. Finney.

Finney, who was president of the school board when Superintendent Eric J. Smith was hired in 2002, said she is concerned about the future of the agreement now that Smith is resigning. But, she added, "The school system, regardless of leadership is bound by this agreement."

- Anica Butler

CARROLL COUNTY

N.Y. examiner unable to find cause of college student's death

The New York City medical examiner's office has not been able to determine how a 22-year-old college student from Carroll County died, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

But the spokeswoman said the case could be reopened if new information comes to light in the death of Patrick M. Welsh of Sykesville.

"We were never able to determine a cause of death," said Ellen Borakove, director of public affairs for the medical examiner's office. "There was not enough evidence to determine either the cause or the manner."

Welsh, a student at York College of Pennsylvania, was last seen boarding a train at 12:45 p.m. April 15 at the station in Harrisburg, Pa., heading for a weekend visit with friends in New York, according to Maryland State Police. His father, Michael J. Welsh, reported his son missing April 22. On June 2, a decomposed body was found in the 79th Street boat basin, off Manhattan in the Hudson River. The body was identified as that of Welsh through dental records, police said.

- Sheridan Lyons

BALTIMORE

Man gets nearly eight years for his role in carjacking

A 20-year-old Baltimore man was sentenced yesterday to nearly eight years in prison for his role in a carjacking last year.

U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Kenard M. Collins to 7.75 years in prison and three years of supervised probation upon his release. Collins pleaded guilty to carjacking and using a firearm in a violent crime.

According to the statement of facts, Collins and an accomplice, armed with automatic pistols, forced the driver from a truck on Harford Road in the northeastern part of the city, made him kneel on the ground and threatened to kill him.

They drove off, and the driver called police, who chased the truck and arrested Collins after the vehicle crashed. Police said Collins had a semiautomatic pistol when he was caught. His accomplice has not been apprehended.

- Matthew Dolan

COLUMBIA

Two men sought in robbery of sunglasses store in mall

Howard County police are searching for two men accused of robbing a sunglasses store at The Mall in Columbia on Tuesday, county police said yesterday.

The pair entered the Solstice sunglasses store about noon. One pulled a knife and demanded sunglasses and cash from the woman working in the store, police said. They followed her into the back room, prevented her from leaving, then fled.

Anyone with information is asked to call Howard County police at 410-313-3200. Metro Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment.

- Melissa Harris

BALTIMORE

UM medical school dean plans to retire next year

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