City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

November 14, 2006

Arson and fraud charges against officer dropped

City prosecutors have dropped arson and fraud charges against a Baltimore police officer and her boyfriend.

Terre N. Shields, 28, and her boyfriend, Rashad J. Brooks, 29, had been accused of setting fire to Shields' 2002 Acura sport utility vehicle, possibly to defraud her auto insurance company.

Yesterday, A. Thomas Krehely Jr., the city prosecutor who handles police misconduct cases, said the charges against Shields and Brooks were dropped Oct. 30 because "there is insufficient evidence at this time."

But Shields, an officer since July 2000, remains under internal investigation with her police powers suspended and is assigned to administrative duties, police spokesman Matt Jablow said yesterday.

She was a member of a specialized unit that worked in the Southeastern District until this summer, when it was disbanded amid allegations of drawing up inaccurate charging documents.

And charging documents in the Shields-Brooks arson case showed another potential problem: Her boyfriend is a convicted drug dealer.

Shields had been living in an apartment with Brooks and, since this spring, operating a convenience store with him - an apparent violation of department general orders about officers refraining from personal contact with people "of questionable character."

Court records show that Brooks has twice been convicted of drug distribution in Baltimore County.

Julie Bykowicz

Baltimore: Homicide

Man's murder trial to begin today

After several delays, the trial of the Baltimore man accused of suffocating a Johns Hopkins University senior in January last year appears set to begin this morning.

Donta Maurice Allen, 28, is accused in the death of Linda Trinh, 21, who was found dead in the bathtub of her North Charles Street apartment near the university.

Police have said DNA found on Trinh belonged to Allen. He also gave a statement to police placing himself at the scene of the crime but saying that he did not kill Trinh.

Allen has pleaded not guilty.

Almost 100 potential jurors will spend the morning in the courtroom of Circuit Judge Roger W. Brown for jury selection in the high-profile case.

After a panel of 12 jurors and several alternates is seated, Allen's attorney, Warren A. Brown, is expected to argue a motion to throw out Allen's statement to police. Opening statements are scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

Allen apparently met Trinh when he dated one of her sorority sisters, who also lived in the Charles Street apartment building, and then charmed his way into the students' social circle. He worked at several local restaurants and hung out at bars frequented by Hopkins students.

Julie Bykowicz

Education

College offers shortcut to degrees

An information session on the Accelerated College and Weekend College programs at the College of Notre Dame in Maryland is set for 6 p.m. today on the school's campus, 4701 N. Charles St. The accelerated college offers an opportunity for part-time students to earn bachelor's degrees in such subjects as nursing, business and elementary education in 2 1/2 or three years. Weekend College, also a part-time program, offers undergraduate degrees in a variety of majors. For more information, or to make a reservation for the information session, call 410-532-5500 or go to www.ndm.edu.

City system plans high school fair

The Baltimore school system will host its annual high school fair for middle-school pupils and their parents and guardians Nov. 18. Representatives from Baltimore's citywide, neighborhood and innovation high schools will be on hand to answer questions about their programs. As the city breaks up its large, zoned high schools, it is moving toward allowing all its students to choose the high schools they want to attend. The fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Polytechnic Institute/Western High School complex, 1400 W. Cold Spring Lane.

Sara Neufeld

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