The Week In Review

August 12, 2007

Anne Arundel

Man in Fla. case freed early in Md.

A Gambrills native charged in the killing of a woman in Florida last week had been released from probation on other violent charges more than two years early so he could move south, a request granted by an Anne Arundel judge whose sentences have drawn criticism.

The father of Matthew Robert Dieterle told Judge Joseph P. Manck in a letter last year that his son was a "few years older and has matured" since a string of arrests and a violation of his probation landed him in jail several years ago. In Florida, he would attend community college in Tampa and "get a fresh start," he wrote.

On Thursday, funeral services were held in Bowie for 19-year-old Samantha MacQuilliam, who was found beaten, stabbed and strangled Aug. 2 in a bathtub in a home she shared with Dieterle. He was charged with first-degree murder after authorities found a bloody palm print on the tub's rim. He was held without bail Tuesday.

The killing occurred about three months after MacQuilliam filed a domestic violence complaint against Dieterle in May and moved out of their home and into a shelter for women, according to news reports.

Metro section, Friday

Anne Arundel

Theft accusations -- and a sweet tooth

They weren't caught with their hands in the candy jar, police say, but the woman smeared with fudge and the teenagers' trail of Kit Kat wrappers came mighty close.

Twice in one week in Anne Arundel County, authorities have arrested people who are accused of becoming burglars to satisfy a late-night sweet tooth. Annapolis police say a 35-year-old Greenbelt woman broke into a downtown fudge store last week and was found at a nearby hotel crying and bewildered, with sticky fudge coating her arms and shirt and unwrapped bricks of fudge spilling out of her pockets.

And four teenagers were arrested early yesterday after a police dog followed a trail of candy wrappers from a Pasadena gas station to a home, authorities said. The alleged culprits were surrounded by more packages of candy and cigars.

Metro section, Thursday

Anne Arundel

Coal ash dump operator fined

The state's environmental agency has ordered the operator of a coal ash dump site to pay a "significant" fine and clean contaminated water recently detected in Anne Arundel County. The Maryland Department of the Environment gave BBSS Inc. 60 days to comply or face legal action, agency spokesman Robert Ballinger said Tuesday. He did not elaborate on the amount of the fine or specific actions. "Taking this corrective action is how we deem it necessary to take care" of the contamination, Ballinger said. "It's to clean up and make sure it doesn't happen again." The move follows the discovery last fall of cancer-causing metals in nearly two dozen wells in the Gambrills area, prompting Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold last week to seek a ban on fly ash -- a byproduct of coal-fired power plants that has previously stirred controversy in the county. Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. has used the 80-acre site to dispose of its coal combustion waste since the mid-1990s, and it was unclear what role the company could play in remediation efforts.

A section, Wednesday

Anne Arundel

Video billboard ban sought

The electronic sign towering over Scardina Home Services on Veterans Highway in Millersville isn't just about business, its employees say.

At Christmastime, snowflakes fall over lighted messages wishing drivers happy holidays. With patriotic images of the Vietnam Memorial and soldiers, other messages urge commuters to support the troops. But some highway safety experts say such eye-catching signs could distract drivers, presenting another hazard for motorists already juggling cell phones, following the spoken directions from electronic navigation devices and otherwise stretching their powers of concentration. The Federal Highway Administration plans to commission a study this fall to find out whether moving video billboards cause more accidents, and Monday night, an Anne Arundel County councilman submitted a bill to ban the devices from the county's roadways, joining a national debate on whether to ban electronic signs and billboards.

A section, Tuesday

Anne Arundel

2nd teen in crash dies of injuries

A second Anne Arundel County teenager has died of injuries received in a July 29 crash that also injured two friends, police said yesterday.

Ronald Jacob Houck, 19, of Orchard Beach was pronounced dead Saturday morning at Maryland Shock-Trauma Center in Baltimore. A 2005 graduate of Northeast High School in Pasadena, he was engaged to be married and planned to begin classes this fall at Anne Arundel Community College, his father said.

"He worked with me in my business, installing kitchen cabinets," said Ronald F. Houck.

Houck was a rear-seat passenger in a 2007 Toyota Yaris driven by Nicholas Vakoutis III, 18, of Orchard Beach. Police said Vakoutis lost control of the car and hit two trees on Marley Neck Boulevard in Glen Burnie.

A second passenger in the back seat, Justin Wesley Grahe, 15, of Pasadena, was declared dead at the scene. Vakoutis and Grahe's older brother, Joshua Austin Grahe, 17, were injured.

Metro section, Tuesday

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