Crime & Courts


October 30, 2008

Man pleads guilty in death of high school athlete

A 24-year-old Baltimore man pleaded guilty yesterday to second-degree murder in the death of a high school lacrosse athlete who was an innocent bystander during a gunfight, according to the city state's attorney's office. Jerome Whitaker of the 3300 block of Ramona Ave. could be sentenced to up to five years in prison for his role in the death of Christopher Clarke, 18. In March 2007, Clarke was in the 3100 block of Cliftmont Ave. near his home in the Belair-Edison neighborhood when he was caught in the crossfire during apparent drug-turf violence, prosecutors said. Witnesses identified Whitaker and Antonio Santifer as the two men who exchanged gunfire. Santifer, of the 3100 block of Cliftmont Ave., was also struck but survived; he faces handgun possession charges. Clarke was hit and later died. Also at yesterday's hearing, Brandon Green, 23, of the 3300 block of Ramona Ave. pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to murder in Clarke's death and will be sentenced to five years in prison. Prosecutors say Green was at the scene with Whitaker, whose sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 20. Clarke, a senior at Patterson High, played on the football team and was an attackman on the lacrosse team. School officials dedicated last year's lacrosse season in Clarke's honor, and AT&T later donated $5,000 worth of equipment on the slain student's behalf.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's editions incorrectly stated the likely sentence for Jerome Whitaker, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Christopher Clarke. Whitaker is expected to receive 25 years in prison.
The Baltimore Sun regrets the errors.

Brent Jones

Balto. Co. police probing woman's death; no arrests

Baltimore County police are investigating the death of a woman whose body was found yesterday evening in an Owings Mills house as a homicide, a police communications supervisor said. No arrests had been made as of late last night, and the victim's name was being withheld pending notification of family members. About 6 p.m., someone made a 911 call to police headquarters in Towson and reported a "cardiac arrest" at a house in the first block of Ritters Lane, the supervisor said. When police and medics entered the dwelling, they found the woman dead. Her body was taken to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

Richard Irwin

Police search for suspects in robbery, kidnapping

City police were seeking three men in the armed robbery and kidnapping of a male University of Maryland medical school student near his Hollins Market community home yesterday morning, said a Police Department spokesman. The 24-year-old student told police he parked his 1996 Honda Accord near his home in the 800 block of Hollins St. about 9 a.m. and was walking toward his home when he was stopped by two men, one armed with a handgun, who threw him to the pavement and robbed him of his keys, said Officer Troy Harris, the spokesman. Harris said the student told police that the men asked him where he parked his car and forced him inside the vehicle, a short distance away. There, a third man joined the other two, the student reported. He was then driven to Eastern Avenue and South Broadway in Fells Point, where he was forced to withdraw an undisclosed sum of cash from an M&T Bank automated teller machine, Harris said. From there, the student told police, he was driven to several other ATMs downtown, but was unable to withdraw any more money. Harris said the student was dropped off unharmed at a location police declined to describe and called police. Anyone having information about the men involved in the robbery and kidnapping or the location of the victim's car is urged to call the Southern Police District's detective unit at 410-396-2499.

Richard Irwin

Student, 17, is held in Heritage High stabbing

A 17-year-old Heritage High School student was arrested yesterday and charged as an adult with attempted murder in connection with the stabbing of a fellow student Tuesday in a school hallway. Charging documents show that school police responded to the Lake Clifton campus about 12:20 p.m. and observed the victim "bleeding profusely" from the chest and left arm, as well as a large amount of blood on the floor in front of an office. Police located a confidential witness who identified the suspect through a photo lineup as Courtlyn Simon of the 300 block of S. Dallas Court. The victim, whom police did not identify, suffered a punctured right lung and a puncture wound to his left biceps and remained at Johns Hopkins Hospital yesterday. A District Court commissioner ordered Simon held without bail. He faces charges of attempted first-degree murder, assault, reckless endangerment and use of a deadly weapon with intent to injure.

Justin Fenton

Two brothers charged in their father's killing

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