Sisters' deaths appear heat-related, police say

The two sisters found dead Wednesday evening in their East Baltimore apartment appear to have suffered heat-related deaths, city police said yesterday.

Theresa Spencer, 66, and Vivian Akes, 62, were found in their apartment in the 800 block of N. Collington Ave., where the temperature was more than 100 degrees, said Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman.

A relative who forced the door open shortly before 7 p.m., after getting no response to knocks, found the body of one woman in the bathroom and the other in the kitchen. There were no signs of foul play, Moses said. Police were awaiting autopsy results.

At least two Maryland residents have died this year of heat-related illnesses, including a 71-year-old Prince George's County woman who died a week ago.


Man, 23, is fatally shot in Latrobe Homes complex

A 23-year-old man was shot and killed early yesterday in the Latrobe Homes public housing complex in East Baltimore, police said.

A gunman approached Jerry Evans about 4:35 a.m. in the 1100 block of McAleer Court and opened fire, hitting Evans several times in the head and body, said Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman.

Evans was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. The victim lived in the 1100 block of Wilmot Court in Latrobe Homes, Moses said. No arrests had been made yesterday.

Police asked anyone with information to call homicide Detective Sean Jones at 410-396-2100.

The killing was the 119th homicide this year in the city, police said. At the same time last year, there had been 125.

- Ryan Davis


Man gets 17 1/2 -year jail term for robbing Lutherville bank

A 43-year-old Baltimore man was sentenced to 17 1/2 years in prison yesterday for robbing a Baltimore County bank last year. Court documents say he admitted to a string of other robberies in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr. also sentenced Ronald Stewart to five years of supervised release in connection with his guilty plea to bank robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.

According to court papers, Stewart entered the 1st Mariner Bank in the 1700 block of York Road in Lutherville on July 22, 2004, armed with a semi-automatic handgun. He said to tellers, "This is a holdup" and "Don't anybody push any buttons, or I will kill you."

His accomplice, Traquan Johnson, 23, of Baltimore, entered the bank lobby a few seconds later. Johnson obtained money from the cash drawers.

Police said they later found the men and their vehicle, and recovered $6,516 taken during the robbery and the gun.

Both defendants gave statements admitting to two other bank robberies in 2004, taking $3,833 from the Citizens Bank in York, Pa., on July 15 and taking $20,484 from the M&T; Bank on Groffs Mill Drive in Owings Mills on July 8. Johnson was sentenced to 10 years and five months in prison in March.

Court papers also say that Stewart admitted committing five more bank robberies last year, taking $3,255 from 1st Mariner Bank in Gambrills on April 14; $1,600 from M&T; Bank in Owings Mills on May 14; $5,450 from 1st Mariner Bank in Gambrills on June 2; $4,902 from a Bank of America branch in Baltimore County on June 21; and an undisclosed amount from the Patapsco Bank on Harford Road in Baltimore County on July 2.

- Matthew Dolan


State, Carroll to share costs of road improvements

The state and Carroll County will share the costs of improving the intersection of Routes 26 and 32 in Eldersburg and of widening Route 32 south from Route 26 to MacBeth Way, officials said yesterday.

The $5 million estimated cost includes land acquisition, engineering and construction, which could be completed within two years, state officials said. The county will contribute $2.5 million, and the State Highway Administration will pay the rest.

The plan calls for construction of a right-turn-only lane onto southbound Route 32 from eastbound Route 26 to ease long delays at the crossing, where traffic is four times the highway's capacity during peak hours, officials said.

The right lane will continue south on Route 32 to MacBeth Way, where the state will install a traffic signal. The widened stretch of highway will include sidewalks on both sides and a 2-foot-wide median.

"The state is working on right-of-way acquisition and engineering for this project at the same time, and that cuts the time frame for completion significantly," said Steven C. Horn, Carroll County's director of planning.

- Mary Gail Hare


Emergency responders to hold disaster training

Carroll County emergency responders and officials will participate in a disaster training exercise this morning in New Windsor.

Residents may see smoke or hear loud noises. These will be part of the controlled exercise and should not be cause for alarm. Personnel have been stationed with each fire, rescue and police agency so that services will be available should an emergency occur during the exercise. The 911 center will take calls. Information: 410-386-2804.


Panel to urge amending parking lot-camera law

A committee studying security at Baltimore County shopping centers will recommend that the County Council amend a new law requiring surveillance cameras in the parking lots of certain shopping centers.

The law, passed by the council after a fatal shooting in a Towson Town Center's parking garage in February, requires that shopping centers with 15 or more tenants provide video surveillance over at least 75 percent of their parking areas by September 2006.

Yesterday's proposed amendment would allow shopping centers to use uniformed security officers to patrol at least 75 percent of a parking area in lieu of installing cameras.

The committee - composed of representatives of the Police Department, the business community and the Chamber of Commerce - also discussed a possible amendment to change the definition of a shopping center required to comply with the law. Instead of number of tenants, the committee discussed using square footage or number of parking spaces to determine retail businesses that have the most patrons and would benefit most from added security.

The committee will meet during the summer and will give its recommendations to the County Council in September.

- Anica Butler


Man sought in '04 shooting that left one dead, one hurt

City homicide detectives are seeking an Anne Arundel County man in the killing of one man and the shooting of another during an incident outside an East Baltimore home last Father's Day.

Sought and charged in warrants with murder and attempted murder is Darryl Rodney Chase, 23, of the 200 block of Bishop Ave. in Pumphrey, police said.

Michael Deal, 19, of the 300 block of S. Catherine St., and half-brother David Anderson, 20, of the 1800 block of N. Dallas St., were about to ride away from a house in the 1900 block of Perlman Place on June 20 to take Deal's daughters, ages 3 and 4, out to celebrate Father's Day. At that moment, a gunman shot Deal in the head outside the car, said homicide Detective Charles Bealefeld.

The gunman then fired into the car, hitting Anderson in the chest as he sat at the steering wheel, shielding the children with his body, Bealefeld said. The children were not injured. Deal survived, but Anderson died a short time later at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Bealefeld said.

Police ask anyone knowing Chase's whereabouts to call Detective Vincent Stevenson of the Warrant Apprehension Task Force at 443-250-9809. Metro Crime Stoppers, 410-276-8888, is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information.

- Richard Irwin


School officials revise policy for closing on hot days

Baltimore school officials will start taking humidity into account when deciding whether to close city schools early on hot days.

Schools chief Bonnie S. Copeland announced this week that the system will close schools early if the heat index at the Inner Harbor reaches 90 degrees or higher by 11 a.m. In the past, officials used air temperature to make the decision.

The heat index is a measure of what the human body feels when heat and humidity are combined.

- Laura Loh


Police investigating cause of fiery crash that injured 3

Anne Arundel County police are investigating the cause of a fiery wreck on Ritchie Highway in Glen Burnie this week that injured two teenagers and an elderly man.

Police spokesman Shawn Urbas said the crash occurred at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday when a Volkswagen driven by a 16-year-old boy made a left turn onto Fifth Avenue and was struck by a Chevrolet pickup truck and a Ford sedan. The Volkswagen, which was also carrying the two teenage passengers, and the pickup truck flipped and caught fire, police said.

Last month, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. signed into law a measure making it illegal for teens to drive with underage passengers for the first five months after they get provisional licenses. The law includes an exception for relatives.

Police did not release the Volkswagen driver's name or birth date.

- Annie Linskey


Private school teacher pleads not guilty in teen rape, abuse

A teacher charged with raping a 13-year-old student and sexually abusing two other teenage girls at an East Baltimore private school pleaded not guilty yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court.

Charles Carroll, 28, had been hired as a teacher by Community Initiatives Academy in 2001, about a year after he was released from prison on a second-degree murder conviction.

After Carroll's arrest last month, some parents at the small school in the 1400 block of E. Biddle St. were outraged that Principal Christina V. Phillips Holtsclaw did not inform them about the murder conviction.

Carroll's defense attorney, Warren A. Brown, said after yesterday's arraignment that the prosecution's evidence does not support the sex abuse claims of the students, two 13-year-olds and a 17-year-old.

Carroll's trial is set for Aug. 11.

- Julie Bykowicz

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