Candidate Kaufman inadvertently helps catch a suspect

July 14, 2006|By GUS G. SENTEMENTES | GUS G. SENTEMENTES,SUN REPORTER

While running a long-shot U.S. Senate campaign and still recovering from a brutal attack last year, A. Robert Kaufman did something unexpected this week: He inadvertently helped catch a man wanted in a killing.

Kaufman, 75, called police to his West Baltimore home to complain about three apparently homeless men on his property. An officer questioned two of the men and ran background checks, and found that one was charged in a warrant in the killing of a man in a hair salon.

Antoine Oliver, 22, of no fixed address, was charged with murder, assault, theft, burglary, armed robbery, conspiracy and handgun violations in the May 13 killing of Justice T. Georgie, a 36-year-old man who was visiting his wife at her Walbrook salon when it was robbed.

Oliver is the second suspect police have arrested in the case. Kemoni Sterrette, 15, was arrested last week and charged as an adult in the killing. Police believe that Sterrette acted as a lookout while Oliver robbed and shot Georgie in front of his wife and young son, police said.

Kaufman, who is running as a Socialist in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate this year, said he did not know that the man police arrested Monday was wanted in the killing until a reporter called him.

The Senate candidate has been dealing with a long recuperation and kidney failure after he was clubbed with a crowbar and stabbed by a tenant in a dispute over rent in June 2005. Kaufman's attacker, Henry Leon Davis, 43, pleaded guilty in May and was given a 12-year prison sentence.

For Kaufman, the attack last year was the first serious incident he had endured in the 33 years he has lived in the neighborhood, he said. Then, this month, he started having more problems. Homeless men were sleeping on his front porch, discouraging his tenants from staying in rooms that he rented. He also feared that the homeless men were dealing drugs.

The men ignored his repeated requests to leave, Kaufman said, and he was too concerned about his safety to provoke them further.

"I kept telling them, `I'm sympathetic, but I'm trying to rent apartments,'" said Kaufman. "I told them over and over and over again."

On Monday, Kaufman said, he came downstairs about 6:45 a.m. and discovered one man sleeping on his kitchen floor and two men sleeping on couches on his front porch.

gus.sentementes@baltsun.com

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