Crime & Courts

CRIME & COURTS

October 28, 2008

Towson High teacher charged in sex-abuse case

A 59-year-old Towson High School teacher has been charged with sexually abusing a girl in Baltimore, according to court documents. Bernard Wenker, 59, of the 3100 block of Rosekemp Ave. in Northeast Baltimore, was indicted Friday on sexual abuse of a minor and second-degree assault charges. The incidents are alleged to have occurred over a five-year period, beginning when the girl, who is now a teenager, was 5 years old, according to court documents. Wenker was arrested Oct. 2 and released on $150,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 19, according to the Baltimore City state's attorney's office. Baltimore County schools spokeswoman Kara E.B. Calder confirmed yesterday that Wenker is a Towson High School teacher. While the school system does not discuss "specific personnel issues," Calder said, "in instances like this, the individual would be removed from any duty that would have them in contact with students, until the situation could be investigated."

From Baltimore Sun staff reports

City man pleads guilty to killing of teen girl

A 21-year-old Baltimore man pleaded guilty yesterday to slashing the throat of his 15-year-old former girlfriend in her Southwest Baltimore home and was sentenced to life in prison with all but 25 years suspended, according to prosecutors. Calvin Puryear told detectives that he was in the house and had held the victim, Christine Richardson, down as co-defendant Lloyd Chase stabbed her on the night of July 9, 2007. Richardson's mother discovered her body the next morning. Chase, however, told detectives that he was not in the house, in the 300 block of S. Fulton Ave., when the crime occurred and that Puryear confessed to him that he had killed her. Chase, 18, then went by the house to see what was going on and called 911. Detectives confirmed the call. DNA recovered from the victim matched Puryear and not Chase. Neither fingerprints nor a murder weapon was recovered. Chase, of the 2100 block of McHenry St., is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 6 on a charge of accessory to murder after the fact. He could receive a maximum prison term of three years.

Melissa Harris

Woman shot in Crofton is in critical condition

Anne Arundel County police were searching last night for whoever shot a 26-year-old woman in Crofton yesterday afternoon. Details of the shooting were not available. About 5:30 p.m., Northern District officers and medics responding to a 911 call of a woman shot in the 1600 block of Hart Court near West Bancroft Lane found the woman suffering from at least one gunshot wound to the upper body, said Battalion Chief Matthew Tobia, a Fire Department spokesman. Tobia said the woman was taken by a state police helicopter to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore and admitted in critical condition.

Julie Scharper and Richard Irwin

City woman gets year for witness intimidation

A 20-year-old Baltimore woman has been sentenced to a year in prison for intimidating a witness, a persistent problem in the city's judicial system. Thelma Watkins, who was sentenced Friday for witness intimidation, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to commit assault, received phone calls from Wayne Morris, who was jailed while awaiting trial in a homicide, the state's attorney's office said. Morris told Watkins and others that he wanted to come home and needed help to eliminate witness testimony. In April, Watkins and another woman broke into a house to assault a witness, prosecutors said. Morris, 22, was convicted of the homicide and is to be sentenced today.

From Baltimore Sun staff reports

Man released in 2007 gets a 30-year term

Less than three months after Kim Hargett got out of prison for shooting two men, he was charged with dealing drugs. This time, because he violated his probation, Hargett, 24, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, city State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy's office said. The violent crime for which Hargett was initially imprisoned occurred in early 2004, when he shot two men in the 2400 block of Greenmount Ave., according to prosecutors. He pleaded guilty in 2006 to attempted second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years, with all but five years suspended, prosecutors said. Hargett was released in June 2007 and was on probation, but he was soon arrested for dealing heroin and cocaine, prosecutors said. He was convicted and sentenced to 20 years, then received a consecutive 10-year sentence this month for violating his probation, the prosecutor's office said last week.

From Baltimore Sun staff reports

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