Records: Man accused in killing described as hate crime was treated for schizophrenia

19-year-old told police he attacked Hispanic victim because he hated 'Mexicans'

August 23, 2010|By Peter Hermann and Scott Calvert, The Baltimore Sun

The 19-year-old Baltimore man charged with killing a Hispanic man early Saturday in what has been classified as a hate crime was being treated for schizophrenia and just a month earlier had been committed to a hospital for treatment, according to police and court records.

Jermaine R. Holley told police he beat 51-year-old Martin Reyes with a board because he hated "Mexicans." Police have said the suspect may have stopped taking his medications at the time of the attack.

Saturday's killing in the 200 block of N. Kenwood Ave. was the latest in a string of attacks against Hispanics in East Baltimore. Police officers and neighborhood volunteers walked through the largely Spanish-speaking neighborhood Saturday urging residents to cooperate with police.

Holley, of the 3600 block of Erdman Ave., was turned in by his family, charging documents say. Police say Holley punched and kicked Reyes, who lived two blocks away, in the head and face, then hit him repeatedly with a wooden stake.

Authorities said they do not suspect Holley is responsible for the other attacks, most of which have been linked to robberies.

A town-hall meeting has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 30 at 224 E. Fayette St., CASA de Maryland's offices. It will be conducted in Spanish and will address concerns from the community and discuss crime prevention tips. Spanish-speaking police officers also will be present.

At the time of the killing, Holley had been ordered to appear in court on charges that he violated his probation from a June 2009 drug arrest and subsequent conviction in July, in which he was sentenced to three years of probation.

Authorities charged him with violating the terms of his release by being arrested in April on a drug distribution charge and in June for failing to pay a taxi fare. Court records show that his probation officer also noted that Holley failed to report for drug treatment Jan. 26, failed to call the officer May 2 and failed to report for court-ordered drug tests five times between March 9 and April 6.

Court records show that Holley failed to show for his probation hearing in front of District Court Judge L. Robert Cooper on July 13. Cooper issued a warrant ordering Holley's arrest, but the suspect's mother, Angela Graham, petitioned the judge that same day to release her son.

She wrote in a letter to the court that Holley had been picked up by Baltimore police three days earlier on an emergency protective order and sent to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center to meet with a counselor for his schizophrenia.

Police have described Holley as mentally unstable and said he may have stopped taking his medication at the time of the killing. A spokeswoman for the Hopkins hospital declined to comment on the case, citing confidentiality of medical records.

The judge, according to court records, rescinded the arrest warrant and issued a summons for Holley to appear in court Aug. 5. It is unclear whether that hearing took place; there is no further mention of that date in the court file. Holley's trial on the probation violation and latest drug case is scheduled for Sept. 7.

Cooper could not be reached for comment and the suspect's mother did not return calls seeking comment. The 2009 drug conviction stems from a case in which police saw him selling three capsules of heroin at East Fayette and East streets in June of that year.

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