Man, 20, charged in killing of nursing student

Woman, 18, found dead last month in Remington home

  • Syron Abdullah
Syron Abdullah (Photo courtesy of Baltimore…)
April 14, 2011|By Yeganeh June Torbati and Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

Police have charged a 20-year-old man with first-degree murder in last month's death of a Coppin State University nursing student who was stabbed inside her home in North Baltimore's Remington neighborhood.

Court records show that Syron Abdullah of the 3900 block of Kimble Road in Northeast Baltimore's Ednor Gardens neighborhood, who turned 20 on Tuesday, was arrested after police tracked him down through a video game system and games that he sold at a local pawnshop.

Police said in a statement that he had argued with the victim, Jhoma Blackwell, 18, a friend from high school. Records show that on March 29, Blackwell was stabbed 32 times, and police determined a Nintendo Wii system, an Xbox 360 system, and games such as Tekken 6, NCAA Football and Spider Man had been taken from her home. Police determined that most of the items had been pawned, and during a search of Abdullah's home, police said they found the Wii system.

In an interview with police Wednesday afternoon, Abdullah admitted that he was inside the residence when an argument "escalated to a physical exchange over the listed property being taken, and the defendant admitted to stabbing Ms. Blackwell," officers wrote.

In 2008, when he was 17 years old, Abdullah was charged with raping a 13-year-old girl who lived in his neighborhood. Robert Cole, who represented Abdullah in that case, said prosecutors put the case on the inactive docket in 2009 because the victim's mother did not want her to testify. In addition, staff at the Walter P. Carter Center, a state psychiatric hospital, issued a report saying it would not be in the girl's best interest to testify, Cole said.

"It's unlikely that the case would be brought back," he said, though prosecutors still have the option to do so.

Authorities had said at the time of Blackwell's death that they did not believe the killing was random. Northern District Deputy Maj. Richard Worley said in an email to community members that Abdullah was a high school friend of Blackwell's, and Detective Jeremy Silbert, a police spokesman, said Thursday morning that the suspect was not Blackwell's boyfriend.

Relatives of the victim, who was killed in her home in the 2600 block of Huntingdon Ave., posted a video on YouTube earlier this month. A woman who identified herself as Blackwell's older sister addressed whoever committed the stabbing:

"You may be pondering if you are going to get away with this," she says on the video. "You may be even trying to rationalize in your head that she deserved this for whatever reason, and you may even elude the authorities, but let me tell you something: You can't elude God."

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