Carjacker gets 30 years on kidnapping charges

A Chesapeake Beach man serving 40 years in prison for yanking a mother from her sport utility vehicle and speeding off in it was sentenced yesterday to 30 years more for kidnapping the owner's two toddlers, who were in the vehicle as he led police on a high-speed chase through five Maryland counties in 2003.

Carl Eugene Jones Jr., 33, screamed at Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Paul G. Goetzke after the judge did not go along with his request to get him drug treatment and not add more time to his prison term. He called the judge a disgrace and, as sheriff's deputies led him from the courtroom, said Goetzke deserved to be in a wheelchair, according to the prosecutor in the case. The judge has been a quadriplegic since a 2000 diving accident.

Jones maintained yesterday, as he did in his trial, that he was so high on PCP and crack cocaine July 15, 2003, that he had no idea that the children, ages 3 years and 18 months, were in the Mercedes SUV. But the victim testified that Jones had asked her son for her cell phone.

In December, a Montgomery County judge sentenced Jones to 40 years for carjacking and assault. A jury there was unable to reach a verdict on the kidnapping charges.

Jones led police at speeds of up to 130 mph during the chase that began in West Baltimore when police said they saw him at the wheel of a stolen green Infiniti.

The Infiniti was running out of gas near Potomac, and, as a police officer watched from a helicopter, Jones flagged down SUV driver Marna Plaia of Great Falls, Va., yanked her from the vehicle and drove off, despite her pleas that he not take her children, who were in the back seat.

The chase ended nearly two hours later when Jones rammed a police cruiser on U.S. 50 near Bowie.

- Andrea F. Siegel


Release from jail denied for officer in corruption case

A federal judge denied release yesterday to a Baltimore police officer charged with shaking down drug dealers for his own profit, saying that the evidence in the police corruption case "seems quite strong."

Officer William A. King appealed an earlier detention order from U.S. District Magistrate Judge James K. Bredar after King's arrest last month. But District Judge J. Frederick Motz upheld the original order.

Federal prosecutors told Motz they have extensive wiretapping recordings that prove King, 35, and his partner, Antonio Murray, ran an illegal operation targeting vulnerable drug addicts while working as city housing police officers.

Both officers have pleaded not guilty to the five-count criminal indictment. A trial date has not been scheduled.

- Matthew Dolan


Police investigating death of man, 35, in his home

Police are investigating the case of a man who was found dead in his Woodlawn home.

Robert Jerome Johnson, 35, was found in the 5900 block of Gwynn Oak Ave. on Saturday, police said. A spokesman said the department is not releasing details about how Johnson was killed.

Police went to Johnson's home when a family member called after Johnson's minivan was found in flames in the 1700 block of Braddish Ave. on Friday, police said.

Johnson's death is the 14th homicide in Baltimore County this year, police said.

- Anica Butler


Elementary pupil dies of bacterial meningitis

A 9-year-old Carroll County child has died of bacterial meningitis, a contagious disease that is spread by direct contact with an infected person.

The girl, a fourth-grader at Linton Springs Elementary School in Eldersburg, attended classes Friday. She became ill Saturday and died Sunday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Blood cultures taken at Carroll Hospital Center's emergency room confirmed yesterday that the child was infected with of Neisseria meningitidis, the bacterial strain of the disease, health officials said.

Carroll County health officials received numerous calls yesterday from parents whose children might have come in contact with the victim.

Meningitis is a contagious disease that mainly affects children and young adults. Bacterial meningitis is spread through contact with the saliva of an infected individual. The disease can be contracted through kissing or by sharing a drink or an eating utensil. The bacteria infect the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord and can cause serious blood infections.

Any child who may have had direct contact with the girl should be treated with the antibiotic Rifampin, officials said. The Health Department sent letters home with third-, fourth- and fifth-graders yesterday, providing information about the antibiotic and urging parents to contact their pediatricians if their children had come in contact with the victim.

Health officials did not identify the victim.

"We cannot by law identify the child, but whenever a child dies at a school, it becomes common knowledge fairly quickly," said Debbie Middleton, the county Health Department's director of communicable diseases.

Letters also went to those who rode the same bus as the girl, played on her softball team or were in band, chorus or dance with her. Her mother operates a home day care; those children have been treated, Middleton said.

In the letter, the Health Department described the symptoms, which can occur within two to 10 days of exposure. They include high fever; nausea and vomiting; severe headache; stiffness and pain in the neck, shoulders and back; and a skin rash consisting of small, bright-red spots.

Middleton will be at the school this morning to answer parents' questions. Crisis counselors are also assisting pupils and faculty.

- Mary Gail Hare


Council makes audit a proviso of Jessamy's budget increase

The Baltimore City Council yesterday decided to require State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy's office to undergo a management audit in order for her to get extra budget money she has demanded.

Although the council was slated to introduce a resolution asking Jessamy to subject her office to an audit and a biannual review, city leaders decided that making the audit a condition of her getting the budget request would carry more weight.

On May 23, Jessamy asked the council for a $2.2 million permanent increase to her $22.3 million budget allocation. She said she needed the money because her office is losing federal grants that pay the salaries of dozens of prosecutors.

Last week, Mayor Martin O'Malley agreed to Jessamy's request and in a surprise move offered her $2.8 million - $600,000 more than she requested.

- Jill Rosen


Boyfriend charged in death of Md. woman, 21, in Pa.

A Pennsylvania man was charged yesterday with first- and third-degree murder in the death last week of a 21-year-old Ellicott City native who recently graduated from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia.

An autopsy Saturday confirmed that Kristin Mitchell was fatally stabbed early Friday during what prosecutors say was a fight with her boyfriend, Brian Landau, 28, with whom she lived in Conshohocken, Pa.

A police affidavit of probable cause said that Landau entered the emergency room at Riddle Memorial Hospital about 9 a.m. Friday and reported that his girlfriend had stabbed him in the neck during a fight, that he had fought back and that he wasn't sure whether she was alive.

Mitchell had at least nine stab wounds to her neck, chest and face. Police found her body on the bed in the apartment, covered by a comforter.

Mitchell was a graduate of Mount de Sales Academy in Catonsville.

- Melissa Harris


Council OKs measures linked to Owings Mills project

The Baltimore County Council approved last night a set of four agreements related to the proposed $220 million town center project at the Owings Mills Metro station.

The council vote was one of several state and local approvals needed to allow developers to move forward with a plan to build a complex that would include offices, stores, a hotel, a library and community college complex, parking garages, and apartments or condominiums.

The county will pay $13.1 million toward parking garages to replace existing commuter parking on the site and $16.7 million for the library-college building, according to one of the agreements.

The state's Higher Education Commission will give the county $3.7 million toward the college building, and the Maryland Transit Administration will pay $15.1 million for parking and other infrastructure on the property, which is owned by the state, according to the agreement.

The state Board of Public Works is scheduled to decide June 15 whether to approve a lawsuit settlement that has held up development at the site for two years. The board also will consider whether to approve its share of funding for the project.

A June 30 hearing has been scheduled to determine whether the project meets the county's development requirements.

- Lisa Goldberg

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