Bel Air homicide

The death of a Connecticut man in an apartment near downtown Bel Air is now being investigated as a homicide, Bel Air Police Chief Leo Matrangola said Tuesday morning. (Nicole Munchel | Aegis Staff, Patuxent Homestead / December 11, 2012)

Victor Levi Colbert allegedly stabbed Rodney Smith to death in Smith's Bel Air apartment, an assistant state's attorney said during Smith's bail review hearing Wednesday in Harford County District Court.

Colbert, whose turned 31 on Dec. 3, was arrested Tuesday morning at his home in Dundalk and charged in the death of Mr. Smith, 52, whose body was found Sunday in his home at 204 A Baltimore Pike in Bel Air.

Colbert is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree assault and second-degree assault.

"The victim was found in his bedroom with stab wounds, wounds to his neck," Assistant State's Attorney Kemba Lydia-Moore told District Court Judge Susan Hazlett, who presided at the bail hearing.

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Lydia-Moore said a vodka bottle with Colbert's fingerprints on it was found in the bedroom, which is how he was identified by police investigators.

Cricket Wireless confirmed that Smith got a call at about 10:51 p.m. on Saturday night from Colbert, according to charging documents.

A woman, who was in Smith's home, told police Smith called her at about 11 p.m. telling her that a black male was in his apartment and the person wanted to sell and use crack cocaine. He then told her he was OK and hung up.

A small amount of crack cocaine was found in the home on a kitchen chair, as well as burnt residue on the kitchen table, according to charging documents.

"He is a danger to the community," she said, noting Colbert is currently on probation for possessing drugs with intent to distribute.

He also has six prior convictions and a pending drug case, she said.

Colbert, who was on a closed circuit TV feed from the Harford County Detention Center, started to say the charges were "trumped up" before public defender Bruce Andres stopped him.

"Just the nature of the charges say 'Don't give him bail,' but that is not fair," Colbert then said.

Hazlett ordered that Colbert continue to be held without bail at the detention center. The judge cited his current probation cases as the reason, pointing out he was out in the community on parole when he was arrested in connection with the Smith killing.

Andres said Colbert single, has no children and lives with his mother.

He received a GED in Westminster in 1998 and also studied elementary education at Morgan State University. He last worked with a demolition company in Baltimore and has been in Maryland his whole life, including living two years in Harford County, Andres said.

Colbert was arrested at his home in the 100 block of William Wade Avenue in Dundalk, according to a Bel Air Police statement issued early Tuesday evening, which said the investigation leading to the arrest was a collaborative effort between Bel Air Police and Harford County Sheriff's Office. The Maryland State Police Warrant Apprehension Task Force assisted in the arrest.

Mr. Smith, a former Connecticut resident, was found dead in his apartment at 204 A Baltimore Pike at 8:20 a.m. Sunday. Bel Air Police Chief Leo Matrangola said Tuesday the death was being investigated as a homicide.

Matrangola also said there had been no sign of forced entry to Mr. Smith's apartment.

A final determination of the cause and time of death are pending an autopsy report from the Office of the State Medical Examiner. Matrangola had said he expected the report by early next week.

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