County police identify body in Owings Mills as Virginia woman


January 12, 2007

The body of a woman found last weekend in the Owings Mills area was identified yesterday by Baltimore County police.

Police identified the woman as Washeeda Muhammed-Siaposh, 38, of Chantilly, Va.

It was unclear whether the woman had a prior connection to the Baltimore area, police said yesterday. It was also unclear where and when she had been killed, police said.

Two bicyclists found her body about 11:20 a.m. Saturday in a wooded area near the 2500 block of Caves Road. The state medical examiner's office ruled that her death was a homicide caused by asphyxiation, county police said.

Police, who released a photo of the woman's body earlier this week, would not say how they determined the woman's identity, citing the ongoing investigation.

Anyone with information was asked to call police at 410-307-2020 or, for a possible reward, Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-756-2587.

Nick Shields

County Council

Official wants to stop LNG facility

In an effort to stop federal approval of a liquefied natural gas terminal on Sparrows Point, Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. is asking the County Council to introduce legislation prohibiting such facilities in environmentally sensitive coastal areas.

The proposal -- an amendment to the county's zoning rules for a Chesapeake Bay Critical Area -- would add LNG terminals to a list of facilities that are not allowed in coastal areas. Already, solid and hazardous waste disposal facilities and sanitary landfills are prohibited.

In response to widespread concerns by residents about the safety of the proposed facility, the County Council passed a zoning law in June to prevent liquefied natural gas facilities from being built within five miles of homes.

But that law has raised a legal question -- now under review by a federal judge -- of whether the county has that authority, because the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission decides what natural gas projects to approve.

If adopted by the council, the proposed zoning change for the county's Chesapeake Bay Critical Area also would be reviewed by the state commission in charge of Maryland's Coastal Zone Management program, said David A. C. Carroll, head of the county's Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management.

If the state determines that the natural gas project would not be consistent with the state and federal Coastal Zone Management programs, the federal energy commission would have to consider that finding.

Councilman John Olszewski Sr., a Dundalk Democrat, said he would introduce the bill Tuesday during the council's meeting. The measure would be discussed at the council's Feb. 13 work session.

A spokesman for AES Corp., the global power supplier that wants to build the natural gas facility, declined to comment on the proposed county legislation yesterday, saying company officials hadn't had an opportunity to read it.

A federal District Court judge heard arguments on Wednesday from AES Corp. lawyers, who have said federal law pre-empts the county's zoning law on where natural gas facilities can be built.

The county's lawyers have argued that federal courts protect a local government's zoning powers.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard D. Bennett did not immediately rule in the case.

Meanwhile, a hearing is scheduled in Baltimore County Circuit Court today on a motion by lawyers for the owners of the Sparrows Point shipyard to dismiss a request by eastern Baltimore County residents to stop dredging work in the area.

Laura Barnhardt


Two plead guilty to stealing jewelry

Two people pleaded guilty yesterday in the robbery of what police described as an unusually large amount of jewelry.

Corey Reuben Cooper, 27, of Gwynn Oak, entered guilty pleas to one count each of armed robbery and a handgun charge in the theft of about $400,000 in merchandise in November 2005 from Bromwell Jewelers on York Road in Timonium.

Rodnell Shirley James, 23, of Baltimore, who posed as Cooper's fiancee while pretending to shop for engagement rings before the robbery, pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery.

Baltimore County prosecutor John Cox said he will seek a sentence of 15 years for James and 25 years for Cooper. The pair are scheduled to be sentenced in February.

Cooper pleaded guilty to one theft charge last week in Harford County in a similar armed robbery that netted about $800,000 worth of jewelry and other items from a Bel Air store.

The robbery of J&M Jewelers occurred nine days before the Timonium robbery.

The crimes were solved by an unlikely source: a Baltimore policeman who admitted taking some of the jewels during a traffic stop of one of the robbery suspects.

Officer David A. Williamson found jewelry from the Bel Air robbery during a routine stop and gave them to his wife to pawn rather than turning them over to the police department as evidence, according to charging documents.

Williams resigned from the Police Department last January and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors handling the robbery cases.

Jennifer McMenamin

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