City/County Digest


In Baltimore County

Middle River man convicted in death of 3-week-old son

TOWSON - A Circuit Court jury convicted a 34-year-old man yesterday of second-degree murder in the death of his 3-week-old son, who died after he was shaken and struck on the head in December at his mother's Middle River home.

Antonio Backmon, 35, of Middle River was convicted in the death of Ryan Backmon, who died Dec. 15 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, four days after his mother awakened to hear "gurgling" sounds coming from him. Backmon, who was watching the baby in the home in the 600 block of Lanoitan Road, gave conflicting explanations to investigators about the injuries.

Backmon could receive a sentence of up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced in the fall by Judge Thomas J. Bollinger Sr.

Goucher forum to feature legislative candidates

TOWSON - More than 30 candidates from Baltimore County's state House and Senate districts are scheduled to participate in a forum at 4 p.m. Sunday in Van Meter Hall on the Goucher College campus, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road.

The forum will feature simultaneous panel discussions, to which all who have declared their candidacies for districts within the county, regardless of party affiliation, have been invited. Candidates will give a two-minute introductory speech, followed by a discussion based on questions submitted to the Baltimore County League of Women Voters and the college.

A registration table at the entrance to Van Meter Hall will direct guests to the forum of their choice. Information: 410-464- 1902.

Festival at park to feature fly fishing, animal exhibits

ESSEX - A festival featuring wildlife art and Labrador retriever demonstrations will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Rocky Point Park, 2200 Rocky Point Road.

Also planned are a seminar on fly fishing, wild animal exhibits, decoy carvers, food and music.

Proceeds from the festival will benefit the Holly Neck Conservation Association and the group's conservation and environmental efforts on the Chesapeake Bay, wetlands and forests.

Parkville Towne Centre Fair set for Sunday

PARKVILLE - The annual Parkville Towne Centre Fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at Harford Road and Taylor Avenue.

Billed as a community street fair, it will feature outdoor exhibits by community groups, churches and schools, along with food, arts and crafts, entertainment and games.

Proceeds benefit the Maryland School for the Blind, the Little People's Research Fund, the Parkville High School Music Department, and the Parkville Business and Professional Association.

In Baltimore City

Man who fatally shot cab driver gets 50 years

Donta Eric Walker was sentenced yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court to 50 years in prison for first-degree murder, armed carjacking and use of a handgun in commission of a crime. Walker pleaded guilty in March in the shooting death Feb. 19, 2001, of Albert Simpson, 36, of the 5700 block of Plainfield Ave. in Baltimore.

Simpson was "hacking" - using his car as an unlicensed taxi - in Northeast Baltimore when he picked up Walker, 19, of the 5100 block of Craig Ave. and three other people. Walker directed Simpson to the 5200 block of Ready Ave. and shot him in the back of the head.

Circuit Judge David Ross sentenced Walker to life with all but 50 years suspended. Assistant State's Attorney Michelle Grunwell prosecuted the case.

$2 million in U.S. funds to go to four high schools

Four of the city's most troubled high schools will receive about $2 million in additional federal money over the next three years to help administrators redesign them.

Baltimore school officials are working to reduce the size of the city's 2,000-student high schools and to raise academic standards in the next several years. Foundations and nonprofit groups have pledged more than $20 million to improve the neighborhood high schools.

The additional federal money, announced by Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin and Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, will help in the planning of improvements for Northern, Southern, Patterson and Lake Clifton/Eastern high schools.

Smart Growth event set for tomorrow is canceled

The Governor's Office of Smart Growth has canceled tomorrow's meeting at the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore.

A large crowd had been expected for the session, which was to have featured syndicated columnist Molly Ivins. However, she was unable to attend, and it was canceled.

The program was scheduled as part of the office's speakers series, "Smart Growth - What's in it for You?" The next program in the series, which is open to the public, is set for 12:30 p.m. Sept. 20 in the Lexington Room of Lexington Market. The topic will be "Smart Growth - What's in it for Working Families and Labor?"

Information: 410-767-2645.

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