Man charged in ex-girlfriend's death Woman was shot at her desk in Hunt Valley


A weeping Preston Robert Fuller was held without bail yesterday on charges that he shot his former girlfriend to death Wednesday as she sat at her desk in the offices of PHH FleetAmerica in Hunt Valley.

Dena Lawanda Pettaway, 26, of the 4700 block of Hawksbury Road in the Randallstown area, died of two bullet wounds to the head, according to documents filed in Towson District Court. Ms. Pettaway was believed to have been several months pregnant.

Mr. Fuller, 28, was arrested at gunpoint by Baltimore police about 7:30 a.m. yesterday after a brief foot and car chase ended in front of his parents' home in the 4800 block of Reisterstown Road. Police said they recovered a blued-steel .38-caliber revolver that was sent to the Baltimore County crime laboratory for ballistics tests.

Police said that two security officers at Reisterstown Road Plaza spotted the suspect driving a 1992 Ford Taurus he allegedly hijacked Wednesday. After the shooting, the gunman ran to the parking lot of a building a short distance from the PHH building on International Circle, ordered a 45-year-old Cockeysville woman from her car and sped off, police said.

When Jose Ramirez and Carlos Thomas, the security officers, saw the car yesterday, they notified their dispatcher who, in turn, alerted city police.

Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger, a Baltimore County police spokesman, said Mr. Fuller had stopped at the shopping center to call his parents and tell them he would be visiting them shortly.

A few minutes later, uniformed officers from the city's Northwestern District found the car near Mr. Fuller's home and pursued him briefly, first in cars and then on foot. Mr. Fuller gave up after holding a revolver to his head briefly, then dropping it, police said.

City police notified county authorities of the arrest and turned the suspect over to them a short time later.

Yesterday morning, Mr. Fuller put his head on the desk and cried as Court Commissioner William Mosner read the charge of first-degree murder and told him he would be held without bail.

A bail review hearing will be held this morning before a District Court judge.

Mr. Mosner said later that Mr. Fuller has no police record.

Mr. Fuller had been employed since April 1992 by the New York-based Archer Management Co., which provides mail services for the PHH FleetAmerica building, company officials said. He worked in the mailroom at PHH.

After the shooting, police tracked down Ms. Pettaway's current boyfriend, a 25-year-old driver for a vending machine service, for his own protection. The gunman allegedly had threaten to kill him.

Police questioned the man, then allowed him to spend Wednesday night with friends at an undisclosed location because the suspect was still at large.

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