Man kills former girlfriend, hangs himself


A 23-year-old doctor's receptionist -- described as "a beautiful young girl with a beautiful personality" -- was stabbed to death yesterday by her distraught former boyfriend, who then drove to a bridge in Northeast Baltimore and hanged himself, police said.

Belinda Newkirk of the 3500 block of Elmora Avenue died about 9:30 a.m. in the hallway of the physician's office in the first block of East Read Street, where she had worked as a receptionist for about a year, said Lt. Robert Stanton of the Baltimore police's homicide unit.

Her former boyfriend, Richard Archie Harris III, 24, of the 1400 block of Kitmore Road, was found hanging from a rope on a bridge at Loch Raven Boulevard and Kitmore Road about an hour later.

Belinda Newkirk ended her yearlong relationship with Mr. Harris, who worked for a tire company, about two weeks ago, the police said.

According to Belinda Newkirk's mother, Deloris J. Newkirk, 50, Mr. Harris was inconsolable.

She said that Mr. Harris began calling Belinda Newkirk two or three times a day and that he once became so distraught he hit himself in the head with an ashtray. Last Saturday, she said, he attempted suicide by taking an overdose of his father's medicine and had to be treated at a hospital.

"He kept insisting that they were meant to be together," Mrs. Newkirk said. "My daughter really wasn't afraid of him. If I only knew he was that bad off. . . . We just didn't know that."

Mrs. Newkirk said she kept telling Mr. Harris he would get over the breakup with her daughter and go on with his life, "but he insisted she still loved him."

Mrs. Newkirk said Mr. Harris last spoke with her daughter about 11 p.m. Wednesday when he called the house. She was uncertain how long they talked or what was said.

Yesterday morning, Ms. Newkirk went to work as usual at the doctor's office in the basement of the building on Read street. Although she had only worked for Dr. Lawrence L. Rubin for about a year, she had made a strong impression on Dr. Rubin's patients.

Roberta Burton, a patient from Towson, said she would often arriveat appointments early just so she would have a chance to chat with Ms. Newkirk.

"She was a beautiful young girl with a beautiful personality," said Ms. Burton, who did not witness the slaying. "Always pleasant."

Just before 9:30 a.m., Mr. Harris came into the office and confronted Ms. Newkirk, the police said. They said that Ms. Newkirk pleaded with Mr. Harris to leave but that he refused.

Dr. Kenneth Krulevitz, a doctor who was working in Dr. Rubin's offices yesterday, heard the argument and walked from the inner office into the reception area in time to see Ms. Newkirk running down the hallway and then falling to the floor.

Ms. Newkirk died from at least seven stab wounds in the chest, detectives said.

Mr. Harris fled, escaping in Ms. Newkirk's 1989 Mustang. The police said he first drove home, where he apparently considered electrocuting himself with wires leading to a bathtub of water, later discovered by police.

Instead, detectives said, Mr. Harris left the house without his shoes and socks, went to the bridge and hanged himself with a piece of rope. Investigators believe he tied the rope to a railing on the bridge, wrapped it around his neck and jumped.

Two telephone company employees saw the man hanging and flagged down a police patrol car.

Mrs. Newkirk said she and her husband, Harold L. Newkirk, 50, have three other children: Jeffrey Newkirk, 31, Regina Newkirk, 30, and Randall Newkirk, 27.

Belinda Newkirk was the fifth person to be slain in Baltimore since the new year began.

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