A 20-year-old Forest Hill man, accused of stabbing his mother to death Wednesday, will continue to be held without bond after a bail review hearing Friday afternoon.
Isaac Anya Ojiabo Jr. has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his mother, Joy Ojiabo, who was 51. Harford County District Court Judge David E. Carey, after hearing from the defense, the prosecution and looking over the court records on the incident, ordered that he continued to be held without bail.
Police say there was a recent history of calls for domestic altercations involving the two, the latest in late December, that were apparently resolved without incident. The man told police investigators, according to charging documents, that he and the victim were alone in their home Wednesday when he "physically assaulted" her.
According to court charging documents, when Harford County Sheriff's deputies arrived at the home of Isaac Anya Ojiabo Sr. and Joy Ojiabo on Rushing Stream Court shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday, they found Mrs. Ojiabo suffering from multiple injuries, "to include a large, wooden handled knife protruding from her chest." She was pronounced dead 22 minutes later at 5:32 p.m.
The son was not present when deputies arrived, and the father, who had called 911, told investigators his son, Isaac Jr., had been home during the day, but was gone and his wife's vehicle was gone, too, according to charging documents.
Detectives executed a search and seizure warrant at the 6,100 square foot home and "located several items of evidentiary value from Isaac Ojiabo's [Jr.] bedroom" that included "blood soaked clothing and bedding," the charging documents state.
Sheriff's deputies also began a search for the missing son and the victim's Lexus. They eventually located him and the vehicle was stopped near the intersection of Putnam and Crouse roads, about a mile and a quarter from the crime scene, around 4:35 a.m. Thursday, Sheriff's Office spokesman Edward Hopkins said Friday.
"Often in domestic violence cases the suspect doesn't go too far from the home," Hopkins said, so deputies "saturated" the area looking for the missing vehicle, which was discovered on an unlit street. Hopkins said deputies called for backup and then arrested Ojiabo, who was "awake and alert," without incident.
Ojiabo was transported to the Sheriff's Office's criminal investigation division in Bel Air where he was interviewed and gave his account of incident, including that he had assaulted his mother, according to charging documents.
At his bail review Friday afternoon in Harford County District Court, Ojiabo held his head down as the judge read him his rights and the list of charges against him. Ojiabo was in the courtroom via closed circuit TV from the Harford County Detention Center, where he is being held.
Public defender Bruce Andres, who represented Ojiabo at the hearing, said Ojiabo is unemployed but had been working as a seasonal employee at a Kohl's in Harford County.
Andres said Ojiabo received his high school diploma and completed two years of course work at Harford Community College. He said Ojiabo has also enlisted in the U.S. Marines, but had no formal training.
According to Andres, Ojiabo has no juvenile criminal record and no prior arrests or convictions.
Andres asked Carey to consider some bail in the case.
Assistant State's Attorney Mark Meehan asked the judge to order him held without bail based on the "egregious nature" of the charges.
Meehan said the victim suffered from six stab wounds and there were several indications she had also been beaten.
Carey ruled that the suspect was to be held without bail because of the "nature of the offenses and the nature of charges."
Prior domestic incidents
The Ojiabo home sits atop a small hill at the entrance to a cul-de-sac in a recently developed community of large, single family homes in a semi-rural area of northwestern Harford County.
Acquaintances say the family moved to Forest Hill from southwestern Baltimore County. Tax records show the home was purchased new for $1,038,000 in November 2007.
Isaac Ojiabo Jr. graduated from Fallston High School in June 2011. He had played varsity football at the school.
Police calls for service logs show sheriff's deputies went to the home three times since March 2013 for domestic complaints, two that involved Joy Ojiabo and her son, Hopkins confirmed Friday.
On the first call, on March 7, at 8:58 p.m., the Sheriff's Office responded to a call for a verbal family argument, Hopkins said. It involved the father and an unidentified family member, he said.
On. Sept. 1, police were called to the home at 10:12 a.m. for an alleged domestic fight between mother and son, Hopkins said
On Dec. 23 at 9:45 a.m., another call was received for an alleged domestic fight between mother and son, he said.
No arrests were made and no reports were filed by the responding deputies in any of the three incidents, Hopkins said.
He explained that there are certain "triggers" in domestic incidents that would prompt an arrest or charges that would require a report, such as an escalating threat of violence or actual injury to one or more parties.
"I can't speak specifically about what happened in these incidents, but typically people call us to calm the situation, and that in turn mitigates needing stronger action," Hopkins said. "It appears these incidents were abated and handled within the family.