Man held in killing of mother

Finksburg woman, 57, found in mobile home

November 04, 2007|By Laura McCandlish | Laura McCandlish,Sun Reporter

State police charged a Carroll County man early yesterday morning with killing his mother in her Finksburg mobile home, the county's second homicide this year.

Eric R. Yates, 39, was charged with murder in the death of his mother, Christine R. Windstein, 57, of the first block of E. Mayer Drive in the Todd Village Mobile Home Park. The suspect lived with his mother. Windstein's body was discovered Friday night after a neighbor became concerned after not seeing her for days.

The killing came as a shock for residents of the mobile home park just off Route 140. With two homicides or fewer reported each year in Carroll County, residents are not accustomed to such violent crime.

"This place is quiet and nice," said Mary E. Klinefelter, 79, who has called the neighborhood home for 13 years. "You usually don't even hear the kids playing."

Carroll County has had one other homicide this year - that of Isaiah Simmons, a 17-year-old East Baltimore youth who collapsed while being restrained by staff at the Bowling Brook Preparatory School near Union Bridge. Staff members in that case have been charged with reckless endangerment, not murder.

In 2006, Carroll County had one homicide, a Westminster infant who died of shaken baby syndrome. In 2005, the county recorded two homicides, none in 2004 and two in 2003.

A neighbor discovered Windstein's body on her blood-soaked couch with what appeared to be multiple stab wounds and called the police about 7:30 p.m. Friday. Windstein, who often worked in her yard raking leaves or tending her flowers, had not been seen since Wednesday.

Inside the home, police recovered a knife that is being reviewed by the state police laboratory. Windstein's body was taken to the state medical examiner's office in Baltimore for an autopsy.

Criminal and forensic investigators identified Windstein's son as a suspect, and police sent out an alert about 11 p.m. Shortly after, Westminster city police found Yates lying on a bench near the downtown branch of the Carroll County Public Library. He did not resist arrest. State police took Yates to the Westminster barracks for questioning. He was charged with first- and second-degree murder and first-degree assault early yesterday morning.

"We don't know why this occurred yet, but we feel we have the person responsible," state police spokesman Greg Shipley said.

Yates stayed with his mother for much of the two years she had lived in Todd Village, neighbors said. Neighbors said he delivered pizzas for a shop in Eldersburg. Yates generally appeared to be pleasant, clean-cut and quiet, neighbors at Todd Village said yesterday.

"He was sure nice to me," said Klinefelter, who lives across the street from Windstein's home.

"He mostly stayed to himself," added another neighbor, Joan E. Roloff, who was sitting on Klinefelter's porch.

Windstein has two daughters who live in Hanover, Pa., and Reisterstown, but the daughters' husbands, who started to pack up Windstein's belongings yesterday, would not give their names.

She had several tropical birds, which the men carried out in a cage, and bird feeders near her front door. A handmade stained-glass window with images of birds hung in her mobile home's bay window. Windstein also often fed squirrels out of the palm of her hand, Roloff and Klinefelter said.

"Now the squirrels are looking for her," Roloff said.

Several statues of angels or fairies decorated Windstein's front yard, which has a fountain, a neat border of conch shells and several flowerbeds. She had recently painted her front porch white and her home's shutters a purplish blue, neighbors said.

During the summer, Windstein and her son would cook chicken and potatoes on their grill and share their food with the neighbors, they said.

Yates is being held at the Carroll County Detention Center without bond. His bail review is scheduled for 11 a.m. tomorrow.

State police are continuing to investigate Windstein's death.

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