Soldier is cleared in city shootings

October 20, 2007|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,Sun reporter

A Baltimore soldier who was detained this week on an Army base in Oklahoma and charged with shooting five people in East Baltimore last month was cleared as a suspect by police yesterday, a day after city prosecutors dropped charges against him because of insufficient evidence.

But Jerrell Hill, 18, remained jailed yesterday evening at the Comanche County Detention Center in Oklahoma, apparently because the paperwork required for his release had not been processed. A corrections officer confirmed by phone yesterday that Hill was being held at the Lawton, Okla., facility.

A city prosecutor dropped charges in the case Thursday in District Court in East Baltimore, and also withdrew the extradition request. It was not immediately clear yesterday which city or state agency was responsible for notifying Oklahoma authorities that Hill needed to be freed.

Hill was arrested Monday at Fort Sill, charged in a warrant with attempted murder, and held for extradition. City police said the Army initially provided detectives with information that showed that Hill was not on the base Sept. 20 - the day that five people were wounded by a shotgun in the city's Barclay neighborhood.

After Hill was detained, police detectives continued to investigate the case. The Army later provided additional information that verified Hill's presence on the base Sept. 20, city police said.

Yesterday, detectives confronted a key witness with the evidence, who recanted the accusation that Hill was responsible for the shootings, said Baltimore police spokesman Sterling Clifford. The shooting investigation remains under investigation, he said.

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