Key DNA evidence found in the killing of Harris


November 06, 2008|By JUSTON FENTON

Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said detectives have recovered key DNA evidence in the killing of former City Councilman Kenneth N. Harris Sr. but need help from the public in determining the suspects' identity.

"We have forensic evidence that can close this case tonight," Bealefeld told members of the City Council last night during a hearing to discuss Harris' killing and other unsolved murders in the city. "Tell me the suspect. We have the evidence we need."

Bealefeld told reporters afterward that the DNA of "several suspects" recovered from the crime scene does not match known offenders whose information is included in a national database. But it is a key development in a case that many perceive to be stalled, and it could help secure a conviction once the suspects are identified.

The Sept. 20 killing at a Northeast Baltimore shopping center was the backdrop last night for a broader discussion about unsolved homicide cases. Harris' family - including his mother, who was present last night - has complained that police have not communicated with them. But Bealefeld said last night that critical details must be held back to get an arrest and conviction, and that other details have been released gradually to keep the case in the public eye.

City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake urged those with information to come forward. "They took a life. They're not done," she said.

Justin Fenton

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