A man who apparently killed himself and his girlfriend Saturday night in Cockeysville had threatened suicide and barricaded himself and the woman in an apartment in January, but was never charged in that incident though he was committed for psychiatric care.
The bodies of David William Roulston, 41, and Margaret Carol Weigel, 41, each shot in the head and lying on separate sofas in the living room, were found Wednesday night after a co-worker called police because he hadn't heard from Mr. Roulston since Saturday.
Ms. Weigel was shot by her own gun, which she had demanded back from Baltimore County police after surviving the threatened suicide and barricade situation in January with her boyfriend, the man who killed her, police said yesterday.
Police said that Mr. Roulston apparently used the .38-caliber revolver Saturday to kill himself and Ms. Weigel at his home in the Century apartments on Limestone Valley Drive, which is off Greenside Drive near the county library on Greenside Drive. Ms. Weigel lived in the 1700 block of Bolton St.
Mr. Roulston's co-worker, whose name was withheld, told police Mr. Roulston was depressed and distraught about his career as a counselor at a firm offering counseling for stress, depression and other problems. Following the January incident, Mr. Roulston was committed to Sheppard Pratt, after an emergency evaluation at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Both hospitals refused to discuss his case.
"We did confiscate the weapon," said police spokesman Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger, "but we had to turn it back. The irony of it is, it belongs to his girlfriend. She was able to prove ownership, and got it back."
Mr. Roulston wasn't charged after his surrender in January because "no crime was committed. It was just a threatened suicide. No firearm was discharged, and nobody else was threatened or injured," said Sergeant Doarnberger, who also noted that Ms. Weigel insisted she was not a hostage.
Deputy Baltimore County State's Attorney Howard B. Merker said Mr. Roulston could have been charged with reckless endangerment, but "really what they want to do is say that everybody's safe. Under these conditions, it would not be unusual for a charge not to be placed."
The main idea in such instances, he said, is "to defuse the situation" and see that the person gets any necessary treatment or counseling.
But Carole Alexander, executive director of the House of Ruth, said she thinks police could have found some crime with which to charge Mr. Roulston.
"One of the difficulties that battered women face is how to handle these situations when he threatens suicide," she said. "It's one of the tactics that abusive men use to control their wives or partners. It's very common."
Her group operates a program for about 500 abusive men who are referred each year by the courts. She said the men commonly say they were just "out of control" for one reason or another: alcohol, jealousy, job problems.
"Once a man begins to engage in abusive behavior, nothing but criminal sanctions stop him," she said.
"It sends a clear message to him that the community won't tolerate his violence,". After the January incident, Mr. Roulston was taken to GBMC and ordered committed. An officer then took him to Sheppard Pratt, at which point county police were out of the case and it became a medical issue. According to the police report, Mr. Roulston gave his occupation as a self-employed counselor and provided a counseling center's telephone number his own.
Calls to the business, the Advance Counseling Center Inc. at 200 East Joppa Road, were not returned yesterday. The company advertises licensed certified therapists for individual and relationship problems, stress, depression, anxiety, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Toxicology reports on alcohol or drug usage by the victims probably won't be completed until next week, police spokesmen said.
While the murder-suicide was attributed to job problems, the January 4police report listed Mr.Roulson's dead or dying dog as the trigger for thatincident. Two dogs were taken from the apartment Wednesday night ant turned over to animal control officers.
In the January incident, police went to the apartment at about 5 p.m., after a call for help from Mr. Roulston's ex-wife, Lisa. She told police he was clicking a gun and threatening suicide as she spoke to him on the telephone. Ms. Weigel was inside the apartment with him.
Mr. Roulston sounded intoxicated and was verbally abusive to police dispatchers as he threatened to commit suicide, according to the report. Ms. Weigel got on the line at one point and said: "He doesn't want the police to come in."
Less than a half hour later, officers heard him moving furniture to block his apartment door, and shouting: "Go away. I'm not in the mood."
Police evacuated the top floor of the apartment building and diverted traffic at Cranbrook Road, Duke of York, Sorley and other roads along Greenside, according to the report. Hostage negotiators and the tactical squad arrived, and talked him out peacefully at about 10 p.m.
A neighbor in the building, who asked not to be identified, said yesterday: "Nobody knew him. He was a quiet type of man; he came and went. I spoke to him: He had a little dog."