Crime Watch

January 11, 2008

Escaped inmate found in W. Baltimore house

An inmate at the state's Metropolitan Transition Center in downtown Baltimore who escaped Monday was captured yesterday morning while hiding in a West Baltimore rowhouse, authorities said.

Shortly after 8 a.m., members of the Regional Warrant Apprehension Task Force entered a house in the 900 block of Arlington Ave. and arrested Gerard Damon, 25, without incident. Damon had about 18 months left on three-year sentence for distributing drugs.

Mark Vernarelli, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said Damon was returning from a road crew assignment Monday afternoon when he walked away after getting out of a van at the minimum-security complex on Forrest Street between East Madison and Eager streets.

Vernarelli said inmates assigned to road details are not required to wear shackles or handcuffs while being taken from or returning to the complex.

In a statement after the escape, Vernarelli said Damon could face additional charges that could lead to more prison time and the removal of any credits he might have earned while in prison.

Richard Irwin

Murder trial statements to begin

Attorneys are scheduled to present their opening statements today in Howard County Circuit Court in the capital murder trial of Brandon T. Morris, a Washington County inmate charged with killing a correctional officer who was guarding him at a county hospital in 2006.

Jury selection for the trial, which began Monday, ended yesterday.

Morris, 22, of Baltimore, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of corrections officer Jeffery A. Wroten during an attempted escape from Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown. He was serving a seven-year sentence for armed robbery and assault at Roxbury Correctional Insititution and was taken to the hospital for treatment of self-inflicted injuries.

His trial was moved to Howard County Circuit Court after his attorneys requested a change of venue. During jury selection in May, Morris tried to flee the Howard County courtroom.

In the courtroom, Morris wears a stun belt, and his feet are shackled. A skirt has been placed around the table where he sits to prevent jurors from seeing the belt and shackles.

During jury selection this week, Morris, dressed in a dark gray suit, remained seated when his attorneys approached the judge's bench. He used an audio device to hear the discussions at the bench.

Tyeesha Dixon

Unidentified man shot to death in truck

An unidentified man was shot to death late last night while seated in a pickup truck parked in an exclusive neighborhood in Hanover, near Arundel Mills mall, a spokesman for Anne Arundel County police said.

Shortly before 10:30 p.m., a resident of the 7700 block of Rotherham Drive called police to report several gunshots fired outside.

Residents of another house reported at least two bullets struck their dwelling, said Lt. David Waltemeyer, the spokesman. No one in that house was injured, he said.

When police arrived, they found the man dead behind the truck's steering wheel.

Waltemeyer said a resident saw a man get into another vehicle after the shooting and drive off.

He said the neighborhood has homes valued at more than $500,000 and that violent crime there is rare.

Richard Irwin

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