In Baltimore CountyConvictions upheld in murder of...


In Baltimore County

Convictions upheld in murder of girl, 9, from Pikesville

ANNAPOLIS -- The state's second-highest court has upheld the convictions in the murder of Rita Denise Fisher, the 9-year-old who died in 1997 of dehydration after years of abuse at the hands of her mother, sister and the sister's boyfriend in their Pikesville home.

The Court of Special Appeals, in a 94-page opinion written by Judge Charles E. Moylan Jr., knocked down several challenges to legal decisions made by Baltimore County Circuit Judge Dana M. Levitz -- including trying all three defendants together so that another sister, also abused, would have to testify only once.

Convicted in the April 1998 jury trial were Mary E. Utley, the mother, who is serving a 75-year sentence; the girl's sister, Rose Mary Fisher, serving 30 years; and Frank E. Scarpola Jr., the boyfriend, with 95 years.

Dundalk center reception will showcase programs

DUNDALK -- The Dunmanway P.A.L./Recreation Center will hold an open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow at the center, 7701 Dunmanway.

The open house will showcase programs available at the center, as well as displays from the Baltimore County police and aviation units, the scuba team and crime-prevention programs.

McGruff the Crime Dog and the police HEAT band will appear at the open house. Community groups will sell refreshments.

Fire Department, college to hold safety day tomorrow

DUNDALK -- The Baltimore County Fire Department will hold its third annual Kids Safety Day tomorrow at the Dundalk campus of the Community College of Baltimore County.

Admission and parking are free at the event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A fire engine, ambulance, helicopter, motorcycle and 911 simulator will be on display. Kids Safety Day is co-sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and the college.

In Baltimore City

Woman dies from injuries church fire last month

A 43-year-old woman who was severely burned while preparing dinners at a Northwest Baltimore church last month has died from her injuries, a Fire Department spokesman said yesterday.

Vertina Harris died Tuesday afternoon at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She had suffered burns on the upper part of her body in a propane explosion Aug. 5 at First Emmanuel Church Apostolic in the 4500 block of Reisterstown Road.

Fire officials said Harris was one of three women in a second-floor kitchen who were preparing dinners to sell at a fund-raiser when a hose to a propane tank broke free and triggered the blast and fire.

Scores of police answer false O'Donnell Heights call

Scores of police officers swarmed into the O'Donnell Heights neighborhood with patrol cars and a helicopter yesterday after an anonymous caller reported that a sheriff's deputy had been shot. The call turned out to be false.

Police said two calls were received about 11: 30 a.m. by Baltimore County police and city sheriffs at the downtown Circuit Court. No location was given, but police first went to the site where the call originated, Dundalk and Holabird avenues.

After 15 minutes, all sheriff's deputies were accounted for and the search was called off. Investigators have not found the caller.

Free health screenings sponsored by NAACP

The Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has scheduled free health screenings for noon to 6 p.m. tomorrow at 8 W. 26th St., between Charles Street and Maryland Avenue, in Charles Village.

The screenings will take place at the NAACP's city offices, and feature live entertainment. Information: 410-366-3300.

Pub Date: 9/10/99

A brief in yesterday's Maryland section provided an erroneous date for the third annual Kids Safety Day in Dundalk. The event, sponsored by the Baltimore County Fire Department, will be held a week from today on the campus of the Community College of Baltimore County. The Sun regrets the error.
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