Man, 30, is charged in his wife's slaying


A newspaper deliveryman was to appear today at a bail hearing in Carroll County on charges that he shot and killed his wife early yesterday as she lay sleeping in a bed inside the couple's Mount Airy home.

Charged with first-degree murder and using a handgun in the commission of a felony is Edwin Francis Downs Jr., 30, who lived with his wife and three children in a two-story colonial home in the 6600 block of Wind Ridge Road.

A motive for the slaying was not known.

Downs, who delivers the Washington Post in Montgomery County, was arrested yesterday afternoon by State Police criminal investigators at the Westminster Barracks and charged with killing his wife, Anne Rita Downs, 30, in a second-floor bedroom.

The couple's three children, Tony 8, Jeff, 4, and Rebecca, about 6 months, were asleep in separate bedrooms and were not harmed.

After the father's arrest, the children were placed in the care of relatives.

The woman's body was found shortly before 4 a.m. after the husband called the Montgomery County police from his car phone while he delivered newspapers in Gaithersburg to report that his van had been shot by the occupants of a passing car near Md. 355 and Md. 124. He said he feared for his wife's safety.

State troopers went to the Downs home shortly after the telephone call and found the woman's body.

Later, while being interviewed at the Westminster Barracks, Downs was charged with his wife's death.

Downs was taken to the county's detention center in Westminster and was being held there without bail pending a bail hearing.

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