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Baltimore Crime Beat Police and court news
Friends, neighbors say Gray was a well-liked jokester known to police

As stubborn clouds hung low over the Gilmor Homes on Monday, those who knew Freddie Gray sat on front steps or stood in close circles, shaking their heads at the death of another young black man while in police custody. They described a 25-year-old who was well-liked by older residents and beloved by his peers for his sense of humor and laid-back personality.

"He was so funny. Any time you're looking for a laugh, you're going straight to Freddie," Raheem Gaither said. "We're all from the same neighborhood. All of us here are family."

Gray, who died Sunday, had some run-ins with police, mainly on drug charges and minor crimes, according to court records. But friends and acquaintances said black men like Gray often are stopped without reason by police.

"I'm not saying Fred was an angel; whatever he did is now in the past. But the police already have made up their minds about who we are," said Rudolph Jackson, 51. "They figure every black person with their pants hanging down is a suspect,...

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Two shot an hour apart on city's east side

Two men in their 20s were injured in shootings an hour apart in Baltimore Monday, police said.

Officers were called at 12:30 p.m. to the 200 block of S. Dallas Ct., near Baltimore Freedom Academy Middle/High School in the Perkins Homes neighborhood, where they found a 21-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the leg, police said.

An hour later officers were called to the 1900 block of Boone St. about two miles away, where a 29-year-old man had been shot in the elbow, police said. He underwent surgery Monday, police said, but they did not release his condition.

Police did not have any suspect or motive information as of Monday.

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Man acquitted in attempted rape of 98-year-old Rodgers Forge woman

A Baltimore County jury found a man not guilty Monday of trying to rape a 98-year-old woman in her Rodgers Forge home last spring but convicted him of assault, burglary and other charges after a four-day trial.

Paul Earnest Howard Jr., 51, was accused of entering the woman's home last April by posing as a worker who could fix her roof. After several hours of deliberations, jurors convicted him of first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, theft and false imprisonment, according to the Baltimore County state's attorney's office.

Howard was acquitted of attempted first- and second-degree murder, attempted first- and second-degree rape, and robbery.

Deputy Baltimore County State's Attorney John Cox said Monday evening that prosecutors "accept the verdict of the jury," but he declined to comment further. Sentencing will likely take place within the next month, but no date has been set, Cox said.

In closing arguments Monday, defense attorney Gayle L. Robinson told jurors that she knew the case...

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Mom of abandoned quadriplegic man faces extradition hearing

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia woman accused of dumping her quadriplegic son in the woods so she could visit her boyfriend in Maryland has been released from a hospital and is facing extradition.

Authorities say Nyia Parler is in custody and is due in court Tuesday in Montgomery County.

Philadelphia police Lt. John Walker says officers will pick her up if she agrees to return. He says the 21-year-old son remains hospitalized in stable condition after spending four cold, rainy days in the woods near his home this month.

The young man has been treated for malnutrition, dehydration and abrasions.

Authorities say the man's mother was hospitalized for undisclosed reasons on April 10 as police prepared to charge her with attempted murder and other crimes. It's unclear if she has a lawyer who can comment for her.

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Police: Man kills wife, man in motel double homicide-suicide

YORK, Pa. — Three people are dead in what authorities say is a double homicide-suicide in a central Pennsylvania motel room.

The York County Coroner's Office says 35-year-old Donnell Graham shot his wife and another man Sunday at the Quality Inn in Springettsbury Township before fatally shooting himself in the head.

The coroner's office says 33-year-old Shaquana Graham was shot in the head and 25-year-old Kristopher Pittman was shot in the chest.

The Grahams were from nearby York. Pittman was from Baltimore.

Quality Inn worker Darryl Schock said someone checked into the room shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday.

He said the person next door reported at about 9 a.m. hearing eight gunshots — first a series of five gunshots, then a short break, and then three more gunshots before silence.

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Baltimore judge allows police use of Stingray phone tracking in murder case

A city judge turned back a challenge Monday to the Baltimore Police Department's use of a controversial cellphone surveillance tool in a murder case, ruling that a suspect can't complain about police deploying the device to find a stolen phone.

The case is the latest in recent months in which police disclosed use of a cell site simulator, which for years was shrouded in secrecy. Anthony Todd is accused of killing Kevin Gipson in March 2013, and police traced the victim's stolen cellphone to Todd's home. Detectives testified that the killing created an urgency that left no time to get a court order.

Circuit Court Judge Timothy J. Doory ruled that Todd, 47, had no ability to "complain about a phone that isn't his, taken during commission of a murder." Todd, whose trial will begin later this week, claims he found the phone on the porch of a vacant home the day of his arrest.

The judge's ruling was a victory for law enforcement amid recent questions about the device, known as a "stingray."...

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