Baltimore man convicted in 2017 killing of his 20-year-old girlfriend

A Baltimore man has been convicted in the 2017 killing of his girlfriend, 20-year-old Tonja Chadwick, the state’s attorney’s office announced this week.

Chadwick, an an aspiring nurse and mother of a 4-year-old son, was first reported missing in January 2017, and her body was later found days later in a city park with a single gunshot to the forehead. Police charged her boyfriend, Marco Holmes, 23, in her death.

A jury on Friday found Holmes guilty of second-degree murder; use of a firearm in a crime of violence; and wearing, carrying, or transporting a hand gun, the state’s attorney’s office said.

He faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison and will be sentenced on July 18.

“This case is heartbreaking. Domestic violence has not only claimed the life of a young woman — but also condemned a young boy to grow up without his mother,” state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby said in a statement released Wednesday. “I’m thankful for the diligent efforts of Ms. Chadwick’s family to discover her whereabouts, locate her phone, and report the incident to the authorities. These efforts were critical to the swift investigation and resolution of this case.”

Holmes’ public defender could not be reached on Thursday.

Chadwick’s family contacted police after she did not return home and her cellphone went straight to voicemail. Her phone was found discarded outside by a maintenance man from the Mannasota Manor Apartment Complex less than a mile from where she lived. Police found her blood inside the apartment.

Prosecutors said cell phone records showed Chadwick has been at the apartment hours after she dropped her young son off with her aunt on January 28, 2017. Holmes’ phone connected to a cell phone tower near Daisy Field, where Chadwick’s body was eventually found buried under leaves and tree branches.

Chadwick’s body was found five days after she was last seen alive by her family. Her body had injuries on her face, and bruising on her arms and hands. Testing would later confirm that Holmes’ DNA was on the fingernails of the victim, prosecutors said.

Investigators also recovered video from a laundromat that captured “a lengthy physical altercation” between Holmes and the victim the night she was murdered, prosecutors said.

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