Homicide detectives have made arrests in what they describe as two domestic slayings: the recent killings of a Baltimore nurse and a woman whose body was set on fire behind a vacant home.
Since Feb. 5, police have made arrests in four homicides, two of which occurred last summer. There have been 36 murders in the first two months of 2014, an increase of 24 percent over the same period last year.
In both recent homicides, police said they found a personal relationship between suspects and victims.
Police tracked the suspect in the Feb. 11 killing of Terry Junior Davis, a 48-year-old nurse found dead in his home, using CitiWatch surveillance cameras and a license-plate reader that helps police locate stolen cars, according to court documents.
Davis was found lying on the floor of his locked bedroom in his home in the 3900 block of The Alameda with a fatal gunshot wound to his head. Family members noticed that Davis' white 2004 BMW was missing.
Six days later, a license plate reader spotted Davis' missing car in the 800 block of N. Port St. A few hours later, police spotted a man going through the car and took Donathan A. Booth, 25, into custody.
Police said they recovered Davis' car keys in Booth's jacket pocket. They also recovered Davis' Bank of America card and found a loaded .40-caliber Glock handgun in a bag.
Booth claimed he rented the BMW from an associate but later admitted to detectives that he was in a long-term relationship with Davis. Booth was charged with first-degree murder, robbery and other charges.
Booth had been prohibited from carrying a gun after a 2006 conviction for armed robbery, police records show. No attorney was listed for Booth in court records and a relative could not be located.
Police also used surveillance video to find the suspect they say killed 34-year-old Ina Jenkins. The remains of her burned body were found Feb. 4 behind a vacant building in the 4000 block of Penhurst Ave.
Police found a black backpack in the building's basement, inside of which was a Sunny D juice drink bottle that held what they suspected was gasoline. An autopsy, which helped identify Jenkins, found that she had been killed by a blow to her skull.
Police believe she died several days before her body was found.
A detective obtained records from her public benefits card and noted purchases at a Walmart store and at a 7-Eleven. Using the stores' surveillance footage, Detective Bryan Kershaw saw the victim enter and exit the stores with a man with curly hair, blue vest and black backpack, police said.
The 7-Eleven was about a third of a mile from where Jenkins' body was found.
On Feb. 18, investigators in the nearby neighborhood found Robert Lee Copes Jr., 36, living next door to the crime scene.
Kershaw said Copes matched the man on surveillance videos and had a similar-looking vest. His hallway carpet had been removed and multiple bleach spots could be seen on Copes' bedroom floor, police said.
Copes said he was friends with Jenkins but that she had never been inside his home, according to court documents. A witness later disputed that, and a search and seizure warrant uncovered blood on the wall. Police charged Copes with first-degree murder.
An email to the assistant public defender representing Copes was not returned Tuesday afternoon.
Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.
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