Baltimore County Digest

BALTIMORE COUNTY DIGEST

March 21, 2007

Police identify woman found slain in home

Baltimore County police said yesterday they had no suspects in the fatal stabbing of a woman whose body was found Monday night in her townhouse, where there were signs that someone had come into or left the home through its attic.

The woman was identified yesterday as Chontae Waters, 31. She was found with what appeared to be multiple stab wounds in her home in the first block of Heatherton Court in the Putnam Green community near Woodlawn, police said.

A roommate discovered Waters' body about 7 p.m., county police said. The roommate also saw that a ceiling panel that normally covers an opening to the attic had been removed, county police said. The woman fled the residence and called police from another location, county police said.

When police entered the home, they noticed a pull-down ladder leading to an attic that was in the down position. The attic has a common crawl space with at least 10 other houses, county police said.

Authorities escorted families from about six homes out of the area so a search could be conducted, officials said.

Shalonda Nash, 33, a neighbor who has lived in the area for about three years, said she had finished eating dinner when she heard a loud commotion outside her home Monday evening. She said that soon after, she saw police cars and Waters' roommate leaving the home, yelling hysterically.

Nash said she, her 11-year-old daughter and a friend were told to leave the home. She said they were placed on a Maryland Transit Administration bus with other evacuated neighbors, where they sat for about 2 1/2 hours.

"It's terrifying," she said. "You could be asleep, and somebody could come through the ceiling."

Weeping relatives huddled near yellow crime-scene tape near Waters' home, seeking answers from homicide detectives. Olandas Gamble, 50, said he last talked to his daughter about two weeks ago, about the time she moved into the townhouse.

"I personally can't think of anybody who would want to do anything like this to anyone," he said.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Baltimore County police at 410-307-2020 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-7-LOCKUP.

Nick Shields

Towson

Man granted new murder trial

Maryland's highest court granted a new trial yesterday to a Baltimore man convicted of the fatal stabbing of a teenager in 2002 in a parking lot at Towson Town Center.

In overturning the second-degree murder conviction of Tamere Hassan Thornton, the Maryland Court of Appeals found that the trial judge reached "mistaken conclusions of law" and "unconstitutionally shifted the burden of proof" to the defendant, according to the court's 43-page opinion.

Thornton was convicted of second-degree murder and a weapons charge in the August 2002 death of 17-year-old Kevin Taylor. Thornton, who was 16 years old at the time, was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

The appeals court unanimously returned the case to Baltimore County Circuit Court and ordered that Thornton, now 21, receive a new trial.

Jennifer McMenamin

Monkton

County planner to speak on zoning

Baltimore County Planning Board member Wayne McGinnis is scheduled to speak during the North County Institute's meeting tomorrow.

The presentation is part of series of meetings held by the institute, a preservation group, about the county's comprehensive zoning map process.

The 7:30 p.m. meeting will be held at the home of Irving Spitzberg in Monkton. Information: www.northcounty preservation.org.

Rodgers Forge

PTA Council to discuss gangs

The PTA Council of Baltimore County will host a session on gangs tomorrow at Dumbarton Middle School.

Presented by Sgt. Jim Conaboy of the Baltimore County police gang enforcement team, the session will provide information on recognizing gang activity, the warning signs of gang involvement, intervention tips and a description of how police and the public schools work together to ensure that schools have a safe learning environment.

The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at the school, 300 Dumbarton Road, Towson.

Towson

Library to undergo renovations

The children's area of the Towson branch of the Baltimore County Public Library will be closed from April 2 to April 17 for renovations, library officials said.

Access to children's materials will be limited beginning March 28, as the renovation gets under way.

The $50,000 project, partly funded by Friends of the Towson Library, will include expansion of the infant and toddler section and the creation of a preschool learning area, including an Early Literacy Activity Center. New carpeting and shelving also will be installed.

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