An 30-year-old Aberdeen man accused of breaking into a rural northern Baltimore County home and stabbing three elderly people, one of them fatally, was being held without bail today.
Two of the victims, including the dead woman, had just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Sunday, a neighbor said, and were planning a trip to Hawaii.
The suspect, Charles Henry Emanuel, of the 300 block of Oak St. in Aberdeen, was charged with first-degree murder and was being held at the Cockeysville precinct today. He was to go before a Baltimore County District Court judge this afternoon for a bail review hearing.
He also has been charged with grand theft involving stealing a cab in Bel Air and burglary in connection with a break-in of another house, where he was captured.
Other charges are pending, said Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger, a county police spokes man.
Killed in the attack was Margaret Attwell, 70, whose body was found on the bedroom floor of her home in the 21000 block of West Liberty Road in West Liberty, east of Parkton.
The woman's husband, James Attwell, 72, had been stabbed in the abdomen, and Clara Vickers, 82, who was visiting the couple from Booker, Texas, had been stabbed in the chest, said E. Jay Miller, a county police spokesman.
Mr. Miller said the motive for the break-in appeared to be robbery.
Mr. Attwell and Ms. Vickers were flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Ms. Vickers was in critical but stable condition today. Mr. Attwell was in fair and stable condition.
Mr. Emmanuel was captured outside the home of an off-duty policeman at 9:35 p.m. yesterday. Police had arrived at the slaying site about 5:30 p.m.
The attack culminated a day of violence. Police said a man they identified as the slaying suspect tried yesterday morning to strangle a taxicab driver in Bel Air and then stole his cab, which later was set on fire.
Yesterday's attack, and the beating of a Baltimore County police officer nearby in January, have alarmed residents of the rural north county.
Gail Eccelston of White Hall said, "You have to start locking the doors and you have to be careful about picking up the children" from school or elsewhere. She spoke as she was sitting in her car, waiting for the school bus to come pick up her children this morning.
"I think even the children are more aware," she said.
Vera Stegmayer, the Attwells' nearest neighbor, about an eighth of a mile away, said that "yesterday, we had the chopper landing on my neighbor's property. It was like that movie, " 'Good Morning, Vietnam.' It was a nightmare. . .. It made me think of how vulnerable we are."
Another resident, Mindy Jennings of White Hall, said she moved to the area from Long Island, N.Y., because she thought it was so peaceful. "I thought it was Utopia, but no place seems safe from crime."
Police said Mr. Emanuel was arrested after a four-hour manhunt in woods about a mile from the site of the slaying. More than 40 police officers with dogs and a helicopter took part in the search. The suspect, dressed in black clothes and a bandana, was arrested carrying a shotgun or rifle taken from the home, said Mr. Miller.
A rear door of the frame bungalow had been forced open, several furnishings were thrown about, and material in a bathtub was set afire, police said.
Police found the stolen, burned taxi, a Victory cab, in a grassy area off West Liberty Road about half a mile west of the slaying scene.
Mr. Miller said information about the incident was difficult to obtain because Ms. Vickers was unconscious when police arrived and Mr. Attwell cannot hear or speak.
But Mr. Attwell was able to communicate that he attempted to stop the attacker and was overpowered. Covered in blood, he ran to a nearby home in the 2100 block of Gibson Road and used a handwritten note to ask the homeowners to summon help, Mr. Miller said.
The note said: "Tell emergency to come at once. Wife's on floor stabbed. Black man with towel or mask. Tried to catch . . . failed."
About 40 officers from Baltimore and Harford counties, assisted by state troopers from both Maryland and Pennsylvania, searched for a suspect with a state police helicopter and two canine units.
But the arrest was made by an off-duty Baltimore County police officer, Donald Chilcoat, who lives in the nearby in the 3000 block of Anderson Road and had been following the events on a police radio, Mr. Miller said.
Officer Chilcoat's father, county fire Capt. Larry Chilcoat, had been dining with the officer and other relatives, including Brian Wisnom, a cousin who is a state trooper, when the father -- carrying a pistol as a precaution -- walked to his nearby home about 9:30 p.m. and saw a man on his porch.
The man stepped off the porch, Captain Chilcoat fired a shot that brought the rest of his family running and Officer Chilcoat ordered the man to get down on the ground. "They got his hands behind him and sat on him," Mr. Miller said.
Police in Bel Air said that the taxicab had been reported stolen at 8:30 a.m. after its driver was choked by a passenger on Gateway Drive, in the rear of Harford Mall.
The unidentified cab driver told police he managed to break away after the passenger tried to strangle him.