$10,000 reward offered for driveway murder tip


The family of business owner Joanne S. Valentine, who was shot to death in the driveway of her Arnold home last month, is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the killer.

As five homicide detectives sort through hundreds of leads in the case, the slain woman's husband said in a brief interview yesterday that he doesn't "have a clue" as to who murdered his wife.

"We're doing as well as can be expected," Vincent N. Valentine said, referring to his two sons, Vincent Jr., 15, and Nicholas, 13.

Mrs. Valentine was shot to death Sept. 26 about 4 a.m. after returning home from closing two nightclubs with which she was associated -- A. L. Gators in Glen Burnie and Rumblefish in Pasadena, which she opened last year.

Witnesses told police that Mrs. Valentine, 47, pulled into the driveway of her waterfront home on Broadwater Road and confronted three or four men who were in a car that followed her to the garage.

Police said she exchanged harsh words with one of the young men inside the car. A moment later, two shots rang out, one striking Mrs. Valentine in the head. She died several hours later at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Mr. Valentine witnessed the argument and the shooting from a bedroom balcony near the garage, police said in the days following the slaying. But in interviews yesterday, authorities would not elaborate on what exactly he saw.

Relatives of Mrs. Valentine have said the assailants did not take $3,000 in cash that was in the car.

"This is still a very active homicide investigation," said Lt. Mike McNelly, head of the police department's Criminal Investigation Division. "We are hoping that the reward expedites matters. We are looking at every angle."

Police said their investigation includes business dealings involving the Valentines. The two bars have had a troubled past.

The county liquor board suspended A. L. Gators license for 10 days and levied a $3,000 fine in August 1992 after it found bartenders had served minors. The fine and suspension are being appealed in Circuit Court.

Police also have been frequent visitors to the bars, many times to break up fights. Just two hours before Mrs. Valentine was killed, officers broke up what they described as a violent fight in the parking lot of Rumblefish.

Sgt. Rick Tabor, head of the homicide unit, would not comment on whether the fight was related to the homicide, but said nothing has been ruled out. Mrs. Valentine's name was not mentioned in the police report of the incident.

He also said that a car theft that Saturday evening in Arnold is still part of the murder investigation. Police describe the car taken during the robbery of the pizza delivery man as a 1980 Toyota Corolla, but said earlier that it is not the same car believed to have been used in the murder. That car is described only as a small, gray four-door Japanese import.

The Corolla was found eight blocks from the Valentine home.

Sergeant Tabor said detectives have served one search warrant in the case, but would not say where it was or what, if anything, was found. He also said the woods near the Valentine home were searched by police dogs, but he would not comment further.

Anyone with information is urged to call Anne Arundel County police at 222-3456.

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