Camera catches homicide suspect

Police use video to identify teen in killing of man asleep on bench in West Baltimore

November 22, 2006|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,sun reporter

A shadowy figure walked up to Joel Bradley as he slept on a bench in West Baltimore and, with a 3-foot-long tree branch, bashed him over the head, cracking his skull, according to police.

The 39-year-old Bradley rolled off the bench and fell on the ground. The assailant rifled through his pockets and then left him for dead, police said. Minutes later, police arrived and found the man shortly after 3 a.m. Oct. 22.

Yesterday, police said good detective work - and the resourceful use of technology - helped catch the suspected killer in the apparently random street attack, which was caught on video by one of the city Police Department's surveillance cameras at Calhoun and Cumberland streets.

The department has rolled out more than 300 surveillance cameras, positioned mainly in the city's high-crime areas. Police have claimed some success in using the cameras, calling the program another investigative tool.

Though the suspect's face could not be discerned on video, detectives discovered that he had stolen the victim's cell phone, police said.

A review of the cell phone's call records led the detectives to the suspect's sister, according to Maj. Fred Taber Jr., the homicide division commander. The detectives showed the video footage to the sister, who told them she thought the attacker "fit the description" of her brother, after recognizing the jacket he wore, Taber said.

Family members told the detectives that the suspect, identified as Donavan T. White, had recently moved to Edenton, N.C. The detectives flew down to find him and interview him, Taber said. He said White had lived in a group home in Baltimore.

"It was a good case relative to the cameras and the technology that we were able to use," Taber said.

White was arrested on a first-degree murder warrant and faces extradition to Baltimore, Taber said. The detectives, Robert Dohony and Anthony Fata, were flying back to Baltimore yesterday, he said.

Relatives of Bradley, who lived in the 3900 block of Colborne Road in Southwest Baltimore, could not be reached yesterday for comment.

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