Men indicted in two separate Howard killings

A man who is accused of killing his ex-wife and then setting fire to her Columbia apartment last month and a male patient at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital who allegedly killed a female patient were both indicted on murder charges by a Howard County grand jury.

Damon Willie White, 34, is being held in the county detention center, as is El Soudani El-Wahhabi, 50, the Perkins patient.

White was found injured and his ex-wife, Thelma Wynn, 35, dead, inside her burning third-floor apartment Sept. 7 as her four children began arriving home from school. He was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, but the next day was charged with killing her and setting the place on fire. He was indicted Wednesday on arson and first-degree murder charges, the Howard state's attorney's office said Friday.

Wynn had a restraining order against White in 2008, before their divorce, but she let him stay with her recently for several weeks, according to neighbors. He is the father of her youngest child.

El-Wahhabi was indicted Wednesday on first-degree murder charges in the death of Susan Sachs, who was also a patient at Perkins, the state's hospital for the criminally insane. He appeared on a surveillance video entering Sachs' room about 10 p.m. Sept. 25. Her roommate found her dead the next morning with a shoelace tied around her neck. He confessed to killing her, according to police reports.

El-Wahhabi, a patient at Perkins for 15 years, has a long criminal background that includes incidents of sexual violence against women. He came to Perkins after being found not criminally responsible for the killing of a 26-year-old woman.

Despite that, he was placed in a medium-security coed hallway with Sachs in July. Three staff members at Perkins retired since the death, before a probe could be completed.

larry.carson@baltsun.com

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