Howard County Police believe the 14-year-old daughter of Howard County blogger Dennis Lane conspired with her 19-year-old boyfriend to kill her father, who was stabbed to death inside his Ellicott City home Friday morning.
Jason Anthony Bulmer, 19, of the 8800 block of Town & Country Boulevard in Ellicott City, and Morgan Lane Arnold, 14, of the 8100 block of Winding Ross Way in Ellicott City, will be charged as adults with first- and second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, according to police.
Both Arnold and Bulmer are students at Mt. Hebron High School in Ellicott City.
Police said Bulmer and Arnold, who were found sitting in an upstairs bedroom when police arrived, discussed killing Lane, 58, through electronic communication for the last two months, and decided Thursday to commit the crime during the night.
According to police, Arnold left open the sliding glass door of the home for Bulmer, who at the behest of Arnold, stabbed Lane multiple times with a knife at approximately 4:20 a.m.
An adult resident inside the home, who was not injured, saw and heard the stabbing and called 911, police said.
Police believe Arnold told Bulmer, who was found with blood on his hands and clothes, the couple would run away together after the murder. It is unclear what motivated the two to kill Lane, police said.
"We really, at this point, don't know why they wanted to hurt or kill Mr. Lane," said police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn. "We have not been able to establish a motive. We've just gathered evidence that points to them being responsible."
Lane wrote one of the oldest and most prominent Howard County blogs, "Tales of Two Cities," where he wrote about real estate and other issues in Howard County. A former employee of the Rouse Company, he also co-hosted the podcast "And Then There's That ..."
Bill Harrison, who worked with Lane at Lee & Associates in Columbia, said he was shocked by the news.
"You know people who die in car accidents or heart attacks, but you don’t expect to know anyone who was brutally murdered," Harrison said. "Living in Howard County, you don't expect anything like this to happen."
Harrison said Lane shared joint custody of Arnold, and that his impression from Lane was that he and his daughter were "very close."
"He would help her with her homework, he would take her hiking. I never heard him say a bad word about the child," Harrison said. "He never shared with me anything that would have led to me believe that such violence could’ve happened."
Harrison said Arnold would live with Lane during the week, and stay with her mother on weekends.
Harrison also said Lane was engaged to be married, and that he owned the Ellicott City home with his fiance.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Lane worked for the Rouse Company from 1977-83 as a group marketing director. He was also executive vice president at Noel-Lane Corporate Real Estate Advisors and senior vice president at Ryan Commercial. He had a monthly column in the The Business Monthy.
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman released the following statement on his Facebook page Friday.
"I am shocked and saddened by the death of Dennis Lane, a significant and thoughtful voice in the Howard County business and political community. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time. Please know that the Howard County Police Department is engaged in a thorough investigation," Ulman wrote.
County council member Courtney Watson said Lane was "very well-known and very well-respected," and was a friend to "many, many people in the Howard County community."
"The community is in a state of shock," she said. "It's going to take some time to make sense of it, if one can make sense of it."