Two women were found slain yesterday afternoon in an affluent Howard County neighborhood, and police are questioning a victim's son, who they said answered the door wearing blood-smeared pants - while his sister hid in the house.
The 25-year-old man was arrested after the killings of his 59-year-old mother and an 18-year-old female boarder at the family's residence in Dorsey's Search village in Columbia.
Howard County police Cpl. Paul Yodzis said the killings were instigated by a domestic incident.
Police said they got a call at 3:30 p.m. yesterday from a woman who lives at the home in the 4300 block of Wild Filly Court, reporting that two people had been stabbed or cut. When police arrived, the man met them at the door, wearing pants with blood on them.
Inside, police found the victims - Mary Jane Hawkes, 59, and the younger woman - their bodies bearing signs of blunt-force trauma and cutting from an attack with an "edged weapon," Yodzis said.
Two of Hawkes' daughters were home during the attack, Yodzis said. He said one fled to a neighbor's house to make the 911 call; the other was found by police hiding in the house. Hawkes' husband was not at home, police said.
A neighbor, Karen Degraziano, said last night that a teen-age daughter of the family was staying in the care of another neighbor. Degraziano said the family had seven children, many of them adults and no longer living at the family home.
Police had not identified the second victim because they were trying to locate her next of kin. Degraziano said she was a college student.
The suspect was taken by police to the Southern District station in Howard County for questioning. He has a history of several arrests, including one on charges of resisting arrest, assault and battery related to a 1995 incident, Howard County District Court records show, but prosecutors ultimately didn't pursue that case.
He was found guilty twice of drug possession, once in 1996 and once in 1997, and was sentenced to six months of incarceration in the 1997 conviction, according to court records.
The slayings mark the second and third killings this year in Columbia.
A Long Reach High School senior was killed in a Jan. 13 nighttime double-shooting at a hotel party in a corporate office park between Owen Brown village and Long Reach village.
Yesterday afternoon's killings took place in a two-story house with a two-car garage set back far from the road at the end of a cul-de-sac in one of Columbia's nicer villages.
The homes in the upscale neighborhood, Dorsey Hall, have an Ellicott City postal address but are part of the planned community of Columbia, which has 88,000 residents.
Homicide detectives and crime lab technicians entered the home late last night to gather evidence.
The suspect in the killings, Benjamin M. Hawkes, was in custody last night at the Southern District station, Yodzis said. He was to appear before a court commissioner this morning.
Sun staff writer Richard Irwin contributed to this article.