Baltimore homicide detectives have renewed their investigation into the 1990 murder of the Rev. Marvin Moore -- a probe in which state Sen. Larry Young is described by investigators as a central figure, according to police sources.
Those sources say detectives are now working several new leads in the slaying of Mr. Moore, a gospel promoter. Mr. Young, a close friend of the minister, was one of several people who found Mr. Moore shot to death in his West Franklin Street apartment in May 1990. Police say that Mr. Young is not a suspect, but a key figure in the investigation.
The unsolved killing has caught the attention of a special city grand jury, which is looking into whether high-ranking Baltimore police officials sought to leak the identity of an undercover informant, thereby undercutting their investigation of Mr. Moore's death, sources familiar with the grand jury probe say.
Sources say that Mr. Young and the informant, who was an aide to the West Baltimore legislator, provided contradictory information about events occurring in the hours just before the slaying. After the informant passed a polygraph examination, detectives asked him to secretly record conversations with the senator about the case.
But only days after a high-ranking Baltimore police official
demanded the informant's name from detectives handling the case, the informant disappeared, sources say. He resurfaced in Baltimore recently.
Last week, Baltimore detectives got some new leads when they finally relocated the informant and interviewed him about his sudden departure two years ago.
The man told detectives that he left the country, traveling to Germany to visit a brother in the armed forces, according to both police sources and the informant, who spoke with The Sun but asked that he not be identified.
Detectives are now looking into how the informant obtained a passport and money to travel to Germany, and whether anyone helped him leave the country, sources say.
The informant told detectives that his departure stemmed from his frustration with FBI agents who were directing him in recording the conversations. While he had no evidence Mr. Young had learned he was an informant, he said he felt the senator had become suspicious of him.
"I just felt like it had reached the point where it was time to get out of town," the informant said he told detectives.
City homicide detectives are also trying to speak with a potential new witness, a neighbor of Mr. Moore who was cited in a WBAL-TV report, who may be able to corroborate other information provided by the informant, sources said.
The informant told police he contacted Mr. Moore by phone early on the night of the murder. According to the informant, the minister said he couldn't talk because Mr. Young was present, but asked the informant to come by later, sources say.
The informant said he arrived at Mr. Moore's apartment at 11 p.m. that night and saw Mr. Young's car, but got no answer when he knocked on the door, sources say. The murder is believed to have taken place several hours later.
The neighbor cited in the WBAL-TV broadcast also claimed to have seen the senator's car on the apartment parking lot that evening.
Sources say Mr. Young, however, told detectives that he had not seen Mr. Moore for three days before the murder. Faced with the apparent contradiction, homicide detectives sought to have the
former aide record conversations with the legislator.
The city state's attorney's office was reluctant, however, and frustrated city detectives instead then offered the former aide to the FBI.
About that time, Col. George Christian, the commander of the Baltimore department's criminal investigation division, demanded that detectives give him the informant's name, federal and local law enforcement sources say.
The detectives initially refused, citing security concerns, but Colonel Christian cited orders from Police Commissioner Edward Woods, a longtime associate of Mr. Young, sources said. The detectives then complied.
Sources say that Colonel Christian's actions are a focal point for the special grand jury, which was convened by Judge Kenneth L. Johnson and charged with looking into the quality of the Baltimore Police Department's drug enforcement efforts. The grand jury apparently has since started looking at incidents of possible police misconduct.
In addition to meeting with detectives, the informant says he has also been in contact with representatives of the city grand jury looking into the matter. He says he expects to testify before that panel as soon as next week.
Mr. Christian and Mr. Woods have declined to comment on the matter. Mr. Young has said he stands by his earlier statements to police, adding that he only knows of the grand jury probe through media reports.