Police recapture father wanted in baby's death

October 24, 2007|By Josh Mitchell | Josh Mitchell,Sun reporter

A tip from an informant led to the capture last night of an escaped inmate who was charged last week with the death of his 5-month-old son, state police reported.

State police captured Billy Conrad Martin, 25, of Conowingo, who was charged Friday with second-degree murder in connection with the death of his son last year. Martin was found at a home in Middle River about 9:20 last night, police said. Martin was an inmate at the Baltimore County Detention Center when he walked away from a work detail in Cockeysville about 6:15 p.m. Monday.

Martin, held at the center since August on a theft conviction, was indicted by a Cecil County grand jury Friday. Martin is accused of striking the child in the head while the baby was crying. Calob C. Martin died days later, after being found unresponsive in his crib.

Baltimore County jail officials would not have allowed Martin to go on the work detail had they known about the charge, said James P. O'Neill, the county's jail administrator. But officials did not learn of the indictment until Monday night, when two state troopers showed up at the jail to serve the indictment and take Martin back to Cecil County, O'Neill said.

About the same time that the troopers arrived at the jail, a correctional officer about 10 miles away conducted a head count at the landfill and realized Martin was gone, O'Neill said.

"The bottom line is, we needed to get a copy of that warrant and/or a phone call on Friday telling us the indictment was passed down," O'Neill said. "If we get that, he doesn't go to work Saturday, Sunday or Monday."

He said did not know why someone from the Cecil County state's attorney's office or the state police had not notified jail officials sooner about the indictment.

A state police spokesman said a detective received the indictment Monday morning and called the detention center about 10 a.m. - hours before Martin went on the work detail. The detective was told he could serve the indictment any time, said the spokesman, Greg Shipley.

O'Neill said the detention center had no record of a call from state police.

Attempts to reach Cecil County State's Attorney Christopher Eastridge last night were unsuccessful.

Martin was working with about 25 other inmates on the detail, O'Neill said. The inmates were under the supervision of one correctional officer.

Anyone charged with a nonviolent crime who has a history of good conduct is generally eligible to serve on work details, O'Neill said.

Martin was convicted in August of theft of less than $500. He was classified as a minimum-risk inmate, O'Neill said.

The child's mother and paternal grandparents also were indicted last week, charged with child abuse resulting in death and rendering a child in need of assistance, police said. All four were living at the grandparents' home in Conowingo at the time of the incident in November.

The boy's mother, Terri M. Rust, 23, an Edgewood resident, was arrested at the Maryland State Police barracks in North East on Monday, and the grandparents, Billy C. Sadler, 51, and Gloria J. Sadler, 53, were arrested at their home.

josh.mitchell@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Richard Irwin contributed to this article.

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