Crime & Courts

CRIME & COURTS

December 09, 2008

Man, 25, pleads guilty to 2005 murder of woman

A 25-year-old Baltimore man pleaded guilty yesterday to murdering a woman with whom he had unprotected sex after someone falsely told him that she had HIV. As part of a plea agreement, Brandon Chambers of the 1300 block of W. North Ave. will be sentenced in February to 25 years in prison, plus five years of probation, in the 2005 shooting of Shanika Pretlow. If Chambers violates probation, a judge could imprison him for life. "I don't understand why this happened; I truly don't think she deserved this," the victim's mother, Justine McBeth, told Baltimore Circuit Judge John C. Themelis. Detectives solved the case last year after genetic material found in Pretlow's body was matched with a sample in a statewide DNA database of convicted felons. Chambers, who initially denied committing the crime, also bragged to witnesses about killing Pretlow after "finding out" she had "the bug," prosecutors said.

Melissa Harris

Parents charged in death of son, 2, waive jury trial

Two Rodgers Forge parents charged with murder in the death of their 2-year-old son waived their right to a jury trial yesterday, opting instead for a judge to decide their case. John J. Griffin, 39, and Susan J. Griffin, 38, both quietly affirmed in Baltimore County Circuit Court that they wanted Judge Timothy J. Martin to rule on their case. They are charged with first-degree murder and child abuse in the death of Andrew Patrick Griffin, who was covered in scabs and bruises and weighed about 13 pounds - roughly the weight of a typical 3-month-old - when he died Dec. 26 at St. Joseph Medical Center. An autopsy determined the cause of death to be starvation. The trial is scheduled to begin in February.

Arin Gencer

Help offered with healing, coping during holidays

Families of city homicide victims are invited to an event from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight at the Mitchell Courthouse, 110 N. Calvert St., to help them with grief during the holiday season. The event, sponsored by Survivors Against Violence Everywhere and the city state's attorney's office's Family Bereavement Center, is billed as an "evening of joy, peace, laughter, sharing and healing." Information: 410-361-9301.

Man, 25, charged in shooting that killed one

A 25-year-old Baltimore man has been charged in connection with a double shooting outside a Northwest Baltimore convenience store that left one man dead and another injured. Homicide Detective Irvin Bradley wrote in charging documents that witnesses identified Sean Stephen Thompson of the 3900 block of Garrison Ave. as the gunman who shot and killed 18-year-old Andre Antonio Jones in front of a Forest Park convenience store in the 2900 block of Garrison Blvd. A 43-year-old man was also shot in the neck but survived his injuries. Thompson was arrested Nov. 5 and charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and related charges. Court records show he has robbery and drug convictions on his record.

Justin Fenton

Two Cecil men charged in 2-state burglary spree

Two Cecil County men have been arrested in a two-state burglary spree that spanned nearly two years and involved more than 100 home break-ins that netted at least $100,000 in jewelry, coins, food and other items, Maryland State Police said yesterday. Jackie Edward Younce Sr., 51, of the 900 block of Doctor Jack Road near Conowingo, was charged in Harford County District Court with multiple counts of first-, third- and fourth-degree burglary and theft over $500. He was being held in the Harford County Detention Center without bail. James David Beazley, 30, who has no fixed address but is from the Chesapeake City area, was charged with burglary and theft. He was released on bail from the Harford detention center. Younce and Beazley were arrested after an investigation by the state police and the Harford County Sheriff's Office. Police said the burglaries were committed at homes during the daytime and early evening. State police said a search of homes in the Conowingo area between Nov. 26 and Dec. 1 yielded stolen property, including gourmet steaks. Investigators also found items connected with burglaries in Lancaster and Chester counties in Pennsylvania. Information about recovered property may be obtained from the state police at 410-836-5043.

David Kohn

Md. gang members guilty of racketeering conspiracy

A federal jury convicted four Maryland gang members yesterday of racketeering conspiracy charges that involved five murders in 2002 in Baltimore and Randallstown, as well as drug trafficking, Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod. J. Rosenstein said. Convicted after a nine-week trial were Shelly Wayne Martin, 32, of Randallstown; and Willie Edward Mitchell, 31, Shelton Lee Harris, 25, and Shawn Earl Gardner, 31, all of Baltimore. According to evidence presented at the trial, the men were members of a violent organization that conspired to commit murder, armed robbery and home invasions from 1994 until August 2006. Mitchell and Harris were convicted of two double homicides, while Gardner was convicted of a separate murder. All of the men face a maximum of life in prison.

Tricia Bishop

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