Two Killed In Annapolis

Boarder, 56, Arrested In Deaths At Home In Admiral Heights

July 02, 2009|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,

A man and woman were found shot to death early Wednesday in a house on a quiet Annapolis street that was preparing for a neighborhood July 4th celebration, and police arrested a suspect late Wednesday night.

The Associated Press reported that Elbert Gardner, 56, was charged late Wednesday night in the slayings. Police say he lived in the basement of the home where the two victims were found and that he confessed to both killings.

The victims were found together shortly before 5:30 a.m. in a small, beige house on Goodrich Road in the Admiral Heights neighborhood, just west of the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The call to police came from a neighbor's house, Weaver said. Within a few hours police were seeking a search warrant for at least three other locations, but not all of them may be houses, he said.

Police provided little information about the investigation and did not release the names of the victims, saying family had not been notified.

Neighbors said a woman who appeared to be in her 40s or 50s and her 12-year-old son had been living there for several months.

A police spokesman confirmed neighbors' reports that the boy appeared at a neighbor's home at about 5 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Melvin Hyatt, who lives on a nearby street, said he might have heard two gunshots while waiting at his front door for his wife to return home from a mah-jongg game.

"It was around 11, maybe five after," Hyatt said. "I opened the door and I was looking outside. I heard 'pop, pop' - two. I didn't know if it was firecrackers or gunshots. ... I was looking up for some fireworks."

He didn't see any. "Now," he said, "I think it probably was this."

But he and his wife, Ruth, said they felt better after seeing a police cruiser drive slowly through the neighborhood.

Police spokesman Ray Weaver confirmed that police responded to calls of possible gunshots in the area but did not see anything amiss.

As investigators went in and out of the house - including carrying in a pipe wrench - stunned neighbors and other people came out into the heat to see what was going on within the crime scene tape perimeter.

The one-block street is so quiet and off the beaten path that residents recognize nearly every car that drives past. Admiral Heights has about 650 modest single-family homes in various sizes, most built in the 1960s and 1970s. It rarely experiences serious crime, neighbors said.

"This is absolutely one of the premier neighborhoods in Annapolis," said Barbara Smith, who lives in the community.

Neighbors said they were sad and upset by the deaths.

"It's very scary," said Jean Paterson, who lives on Goodrich Road. "We've never had any problems before. We've lived here 41 years."

A man who lives on the street but declined to give his name because of job concerns said he'd seen the boy playing outside, throwing a football over the one-story house.

"They seemed very happy," said David Coleman, who lives a few doors away from the couple who lived in the house. "They just recently got over there. I know them because I saw them walking their little dog. I'm just shocked."

Wednesday morning, animal control officials took a small dog from the house.

Maryland property records say the home is owned by Roswitha Colton of Queenstown. Calls to her house were not answered Wednesday.

The July 4th parade sponsored by the Admiral Heights Improvement Association was to have closed off Goodrich Road, allowing kids to ride their bicycles there. But the event, planned for 10 a.m. Saturday, has been moved to Sampson Place, said Sean O'Neill, president of the neighborhood association.

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