18-year-old charged with rape, murder of homeless woman in downtown Baltimore, police say

An 18-year-old Baltimore man has been charged with raping and strangling to death a homeless woman in downtown Baltimore last week, according to Baltimore Police.

James Arthur House, of the 400 block of E. Lorraine Ave. in Harwood, allegedly confessed to the crimes during an interrogation by homicide detectives, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said Monday.

Davis praised the detectives’ work, which he said will make prosecution easier.

House could not be reached for comment. He did not have an attorney listed in online court records Monday.

Jessica Gibson, 35, of no fixed address, was found behind large pallets on an access road between Baltimore and Lombard streets on Wednesday morning, police said.

Police said the attack occurred on the access road, which runs behind Power Plant Live and the Port Discovery Children’s Museum downtown. They believe Gibson and House may have had a pre-existing relationship, though the precise nature of that relationship was unclear.

Gibson had four children, police said. Some of the sex offenses occurred after she was dead, Davis said.

Video surveillance from the area showed Gibson and House interacting prior to the attack, but not the attack itself and nothing that appeared “volatile,” said T.J. Smith, a police spokesman.

Police had previously released a portion of the video showing House, referring to him as “the last person to see Ms. Gibson alive” and seeking help identifying him. Davis said a citizen stepped forward afterward to help police identify House from video from the scene.

“We’re very, very grateful,” he said.

Smith said House “called 911 and told police that he saw himself on social media” as well.

House, who did not have a prior adult criminal record, has been charged with 12 criminal counts in relation to the incident, including first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree rape, four sex offense charges, perverted practice, two assault charges and reckless endangerment, police said.

House was ordered held without bail at a bail review hearing on Monday, according to court records.

krector@baltsun.com

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