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Police identify man arrested in Rodgers Forge killing

ShootingsHomicideInterior PolicyKaren RodriguezPersonal Data Collection

Donte Stephens was gunned down in Rodgers Forge last week because he had told the suspect days earlier that he wasn't allowed to do laundry at the house, according to charging documents filed in court Thursday.

Authorities revealed the suspected motive behind the killing July 17 in the neighborhood a day after Baltimore County police arrested 22-year-old Dante Antonio Woods in Baltimore and charged him with first-degree murder.

Police said Stephens lived at a rowhouse in the 100 block of Murdock Road along with his girlfriend and her daughter, who was a friend of Woods'. Three days before the shooting, charging documents say, Woods and Stephens argued when Woods brought his laundry to the house to be washed. Police said Stephens objected, angering Woods.

Woods told an unidentified witness before the shooting that he was going to shoot and kill Stephens, and later confessed to the same witness, according to charging documents.

Online court records did not list an attorney for Woods. No one answered at his Pennsylvania Avenue apartment. He is being held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center.

A woman who answered the door at the home on Murdock Road identified herself as the daughter but referred questions to her mother, who did not return a request for comment Thursday.

Karen Rodriguez, who lives in the neighborhood and is organizing food donations for the family, said they are suffering.

"A lot of people are coming forward ... so that she can see that it is a community that supports her."

"They are scared, they are upset," she added. "She apologized to me for making the neighborhood feel unsafe."

But Rodriguez said she told her violence can happen anywhere, for any reason.

"I feel really bad for the family because they are going through this very violent situation and they have to do it publicly," she said.

Stephens' funeral was held on Wednesday in Randallstown.

The shooting occurred about dawn. Officers were called to Murdock and Blenheim roads for reported gunfire and found Stephens in his overturned silver Dodge.

The medical examiner said the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.

Police said Stephens did not have a weapon. The day of the shooting, county homicide detectives interviewed Woods at police headquarters in Towson, according to charging documents. He denied going to the neighborhood and told detectives he stayed at his apartment in the 1500 block of Pennsylvania Ave. in Baltimore. He also denied that he was angry about the laundry.

Police pulled Woods' cellphone records, which they said show he was within blocks of the scene within an hour and half of the killing. Police said he left immediately, returning to his home about 20 minutes later, according to the documents.

Online court records show that Woods was found guilty in 2010 of assaulting a law enforcement officer and received two years of supervised probation.

Baltimore Sun reporter Kevin Rector contributed to this article.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/janders5

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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ShootingsHomicideInterior PolicyKaren RodriguezPersonal Data Collection
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