A 44-year-old security guard was being held without bail last night on murder charges after police said he confessed to killing an Essex woman whose decapitated body was found at a Reisterstown construction site late last month.
The partially clothed body of 38-year-old Rosemarie Shew - reported missing by her family after she failed to return from a Sunday-night trip to the supermarket - was found the next morning, Aug. 28. Yesterday, Baltimore County police charged Richard Lee Donnelly, who recently moved to the 6600 block of Golden Ring Road in Baltimore County, with first-degree murder in Shew's death.
He is scheduled for a bail review hearing tomorrow.
Police said they interviewed Donnelly at police headquarters in Towson on Friday after receiving an anonymous tip that the suspect was involved in Shew's disappearance.
According to charging documents filed yesterday in Baltimore County District Court in Towson, Donnelly confessed during the interview, saying he had met the victim about 9:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at an Essex-area Metro Food Market.
The two "were complete strangers before Sunday night," said Bill Toohey, a Baltimore County police spokesman.
Shew apparently had agreed to give Donnelly a ride in her 1995 Nissan pickup truck.
"They drove off ... [and] a disagreement arose," Toohey said. She was beaten unconscious and was driven to the construction site near Reisterstown Road, he said. "It was there that she was decapitated," Toohey said.
According to Toohey, the head was disposed of somewhere near the construction site.
Toohey said police searched the area but have not found the victim's head. Police are not releasing information on where it might be or what weapon was used.
Donnelly told police, according to Toohey, that after dumping Shew's body at the construction site, he drove her truck to downtown Baltimore, leaving it at Water and Gay streets. The vehicle was discovered Aug. 30.
The victim's husband, Anthony Shew, filed a missing-person report the morning after her disappearance, about the time his wife's body was discovered in Reisterstown. Last night, police said Mr. Shew had checked himself into an undisclosed local hospital and was unavailable for comment.
"Her husband is obviously very emotionally distraught," Toohey said.
Neighbors on Golden Ring Road said Donnelly worked as a security guard and lived with a sibling. They said Donnelly wore a gun on his waist and badge around his neck.
"He was always pretending he was a cop," said Joe Jakubowski, who lived across the street.
Rick Walston of the 8600 block of Delegge Road said detectives first showed up at Donnelly's home Thursday.
"On Friday, I saw three detectives looking in the bushes for something," Walston said. "They were wearing blue gloves."
On Avenal Road in the Eastern Terrace neighborhood in Essex, where Shew lived with her husband, a neighbor yesterday described her as friendly and pleasant.
George F. Dorbert, 70, said Shew often accompanied her husband, a truck driver, on his distribution runs.
"She would talk to anybody," Dorbert said. "They lived across the road from me for two years. She loved animals. There wasn't a dog that went down the street that she didn't talk to or pet."
Sun staff writer Nancy Youssef contributed to this article.