A Baltimore man described by police as a "career criminal" with a lengthy record of drug and theft convictions has been charged with gunning down a nightclub owner in the driveway of her Arnold home two months ago.
Edward Wendell McLeod, 43, whose criminal record dates back to at least 1980, was charged early yesterday with first-degree murder in the slaying of Joanne Shuey Valentine, 47, of the 500 block of Broadwater Road. He was ordered held in the county Detention Center without bail during a hearing yesterday in District Court.
Mr. McLeod, of the 1800 block of Division Street in Upton, was also charged with using a handgun in the commission of a felony.
Mrs. Valentine was shot about 4 a.m. Sept. 26 by a man who followed her into the driveway of her home. She had just finished closing for the night two Anne Arundel County nightclubs she owned with her husband: Rumblefish, in the 7900 block of Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd. in Pasadena, and A. L. Gators, in the 8500 block of Fort Smallwood Road in Riviera Beach.
Police would not comment yesterday on possible motives.
Mr. McLeod became a suspect after a .38-caliber handgun found in his car Oct. 1 was identified as the one used to kill Mrs. Valentine.
He had been arrested on a shoplifting charge at a Pasadena Safeway store by county police Sgt. Bret Ballam, who, with Mr. McLeod's permission, searched his car and found the handgun in the trunk.
Mr. McLeod was charged with theft under $300 in that incident and released.
County and city police picked him up late Tuesday night when they spotted him getting out of a car near a drug house in the 500 block of McMechen St. in Baltimore.
According to charging documents, Mr. McLeod admitted stealing the gun in July from On Target, an Odenton gun shop.
After the shooting, police said, they were told by witnesses that Mrs. Valentine pulled into the driveway of her waterfront home on Broadwater Road and confronted three or four men in a car that followed her to the garage.
After an exchange of harsh words, according to the witnesses, a shot was fired and the bullet hit Mrs. Valentine in the neck.