Baltimore County Digest


September 08, 2006

Overlea man found guilty of murder

An Overlea man was found guilty yesterday of murder in the death of his upstairs neighbor, whose body was found in the bathtub of her burning apartment.

A Baltimore County Circuit Court jury deliberated about six hours before finding Ellis Lee Hickman Jr., 34, guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 29-year-old Rakiyya Tiana States. Hickman was also found guilty of arson and harassment.

On Sept. 25, firefighters extinguished several fires in States' apartment on Mopec Circle, then discovered her body in a bathtub full of blood, gasoline and water. She had been strangled and beaten to death, and the tips of her fingers had been cut off.

Last week, Hickman's half-brother Torrance Davis, 24, testified that Hickman had called him frantically on the day that States died and asked him to bring a can of gasoline to the apartment.

Friends of States testified that she had told them that Hickman had introduced himself to her as "a man of God." In the days before her death, she had found religious greeting cards on her car that were signed with an e-mail address that detectives traced to Hickman.

Raoul States, the victim's father, said: "He doesn't deserve to walk the streets, to allow it to happen to someone else's daughter. "

Prosecutor Stephen W. Kagay Jr. said that the state would seek a sentence of life without parole for Hickman. A sentencing date is to be set today.

"There was no one else who could have committed this murder," said jury foreman Dennis Deahl, an Owings Mills resident.

Hickman, wearing a tan suit and wire-rimmed glasses, appeared composed as the sentence was read.

Darick Miller, States' fiance and boyfriend since high school, said that he is caring for their 3-year-old son.

"He misses his mother big time," Miller said. "Every night, we talk about his mother, what she's doing in heaven. But it's not going to bring her back."

Julie Scharper


Man arrested after shots fired

A man was arrested early yesterday after shots were fired into a Randallstown home, police said.

Sean Kusterer, 20, of the 3700 block of Eastman Road, was charged with first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment, authorities said.

Shortly before 12:30 a.m. yesterday, officers were called to the 9200 block of Allenswood Road in Randallstown after a resident complained that they believed a man at a home in the 3700 block of Eastman Road was shooting at their house. According to charging documents, police went to the Eastman Road home, found Kusterer in the basement, a .22-caliber rifle and 13 .22-caliber shell casings below a utility sink and a laundry room window that faced the neighbor's home.

Kusterer was being held in lieu of $500,000 bond, police said.

Nick Shields

Middle River

Man arrested in child porn case

A Middle River man was arrested yesterday after police searching his home found child pornography on a computer there, authorities said.

James E. Jones, 37, of the 2100 block of Cockspur Road, was charged with 22 criminal counts, including possession of child pornography and use of a computer to compile and transmit child pornography, according to the state police. Troopers found computer equipment used to produce DVDs and CDs containing child pornography, police said.

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