As they worked to find the killers of a former city councilman, detectives pounded the streets and rounded up dozens of possible suspects. Last week, they made two arrests.
But police say the intense scrutiny on the neighborhood and its known offenders also helped begin closing a year-old killing, with ties to one of the suspects in the Harris case.
William Howell, who was already incarcerated on a probation violation, was charged at Central Booking this week with first-degree murder in the November 2007 shooting death of 16-year-old Terrence Regan. Regan was killed on the front steps of a home in the 1600 block of Lochwood Road in the Hillen community.
That home was where one of the suspects in the killing of Kenneth N. Harris Sr., Charles Y. McGaney, was living at the time of Regan's death. McGaney and Gary Collins were arrested just blocks away Nov. 14 and charged in Harris' Sept. 20 shooting. Information developed during that investigation helped spark Howell's arrest, police say.
"It all stems from the way we converged on that area, talking to residents and pressing the criminal element, that led to information that helped us close those cases," said Officer Troy Harris, a police spokesman. "This is a great example of detectives working together."
According to charging documents, Regan was standing on the front porch Nov. 5, 2007, with several other people when Howell, 24, approached and opened fire. Regan attempted to run but was shot in the head and chest, collapsing on the porch, court records show. The other people fled, but they later returned and called for help. Regan was pronounced dead that night at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Several witnesses were located during the initial investigation, which stalled. But this month, two of those witnesses told investigators that Howell was the one who approached the victim and shot him, identifying him through a photo lineup, court records show.
Howell, of the 6200 block of Radecke Ave., was sentenced in 2003 to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to an assault charge and use of a handgun as part of an attempted-murder case. A judge suspended 17 years of that sentence, followed by four years' supervised probation. He was placed in the state's violence prevention initiative.
Records show Howell was charged with violating his probation Sept. 16 after not reporting to his probation agent, four days before Harris was killed, and he was served with the warrant Oct. 7. He was ordered held without bail by a District Court judge this week.