Convicted sex offender is charged with kidnapping 13-year-old He was suspect in 1992 slaying


A convicted sex offender who was a suspect in the stabbing death of an 11-year-old West Baltimore boy has been charged with kidnapping and sexually abusing a Baltimore teen-ager, police said yesterday.

After Warren C. Berry, 30, was arrested Wednesday morning in the latest case, a police spokesman said homicide detectives questioned him for seven hours about that case and the murder of Michael Shawn Gasque in December 1992.

In the Gasque case, prosecutors were forced to drop murder charges against Mr. Berry in March because of a lack of evidence. Attempts to link him to blood, hair, fibers and other physical evidence taken from the crime scene were unsuccessful, prosecutors said at the time.

On Wednesday, Mr. Berry, who lives in the 5900 block of Radecke Ave., was charged with kidnapping, sodomy, a third-degree sex offense, and assault and battery, police said. He was being held at the Baltimore City Detention Center last night.

Mr. Berry was released from state prison in January 1991 after serving 11 years of a 15-year sentence for a sex offense.

Sam Ringgold, a police spokesman, said Mr. Berry befriended the 13-year-old on Tuesday afternoon while the youth was playing basketball in the Northeast Baltimore neighborhood where he lives with his father.

"The youth told the man he did not want to go home that night," Mr. Ringgold said. "The suspect said, 'You can spend the night with me.' "

The spokesman said Mr. Berry took the youth to his home, where he bathed him and sexually assaulted him throughout the night. Mr. Ringgold said the youth asked to leave several times but was refused.

The youth's absence had not been reported to police.

About 6:45 Wednesday morning, Mr. Ringgold said, Mr. Berry drove the youth to his mother's home in the Dutch Village Apartments, located in Hillendale in Baltimore County, just over the city line.

Mr. Ringgold said the youth went inside while Mr. Berry waited in the car, apparently thinking the youth was going to check in and then return. But the boy told his mother what allegedly happened, and his mother called police, who arrested Mr. Berry outside the complex, the spokesman said.

Mr. Ringgold would not comment yesterday on whether Mr. Berry remains a suspect in the Gasque murder. But Timothy J. Doory, an assistant state's attorney, said at a March hearing that he could be arrested again if new evidence surfaces.

At the Baltimore Circuit Court hearing, Mr. Doory told a judge that dropping the first-degree murder charge against Mr. Berry was the "most distasteful decision I have ever had to make as an assistant state's attorney."

Michael Gasque's body was found Dec. 18, 1992, in an abandoned shed in woods near his Edmondson Village home.

Police said Mr. Berry played basketball with the neighborhood children and appeared to be the last person seen with Michael. Mr. Berry was arrested on unrelated drug and handgun charges the day the body was found and was charged with first-degree murder the next day.

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