Federal inmate charged in '02 killing of man, 49


Howard County police have arrested and charged a federal inmate from Baltimore with murder in the death of a Columbia man who was shot as he was leaving his condominium complex to go to the store four years ago.

Marc Colin Ward, 36, of the 1700 block of W. North Ave., is accused of killing Edwin Rudolph Aytes, 49, who was an office manager for the Columbia division of an Atlanta-based lending institution.

Ward, who was serving time at a federal prison in Cumberland on a drug conviction, was a "suspect from Day One" in the shooting Sept. 27, 2002, in the 9600 block of Whiteacre Road in Columbia's Oakland Mills village, police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said.

The last incoming call on Aytes' work cell phone, which police found on the floor next to his body, was from Ward, according to charging documents. Ward's number also was listed among the last 10 phone numbers that Aytes dialed.

Witnesses reported seeing a two-tone green Chevrolet Tahoe leave the scene of the shooting. They provided police with a partial license plate number, and police linked the Tahoe to Ward, according to charging documents.

Police declined to release any details about a motive, and sparse charging documents gave no clues, stating only that "several" of Ward's "associates" revealed "information that directly implicated Ward."

Police arrested Ward on Tuesday at the federal prison in Cumberland, where he was serving time after pleading guilty in Kansas to carrying cocaine across state lines. Ward, who moved to Columbia in 1980 and attended Oakland Mills High School, was in the Howard County Detention Center yesterday and appeared via closed-circuit television before a Howard County District judge. He requested a public defender.

"He's a very private person," said Ward's sister, Mica Brown, who lives off Oakland Mills Drive. "He doesn't talk much, and he keeps a lot of stuff away from us." Before Ward's incarceration, the family would "see him at Thanksgiving and Christmas, when he brings his daughter," Brown said.

At the time of Aytes' killing, neighbors and friends told The Sun that the longtime resident was well-liked by his neighbors and co-workers.

"The police felt and said at the time that it was not a random killing - that they believed it was a personal, targeted killing by someone who knew him," said Barbara Russell, a Columbia Association board member representing Oakland Mills. "I am extremely pleased that the police did what they said they were going to do and continued pursuing it for this long."


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