Rape suspect, mother shared a violent past

The Baltimore Sun

Chaz Ricks has lived most of his life with his mother, a drug-addicted and violent woman who stabbed him in the back when he was 17 years old, court records show.

Now 20, Ricks grew up surrounded by violence - and grew into a man with a stack of arrests accusing him of increasingly violent behavior.

Last week, he was charged with raping a 59-year-old woman inside her Roland Park home. Ricks and another still-unidentified man are accused of confronting the woman with handguns and robbing her home during the assault Aug. 23.

It was Ricks' fifth arrest on charges of violence in two years, and it was the second time this year he was charged in a home-invasion robbery and rape. Each time, he was not prosecuted.

Neighbors in the Northeast Baltimore townhouse development where Ricks and his mother, Jacqueline Ricks, lived for three years said they hope that this time he will stay behind bars.

"People are getting tired of him getting out of serious charges," said Katrina Brown, who lived next door to the Rickses.

Brown described Chaz Ricks as angry, violent and reckless - someone who walked through the neighborhood talking about having a gun and wanting to kill people.

Ricks seemed to have a death wish, Brown said. He confronted gang members and was slashed on his right cheek during one fight, Brown said. The scar is visible in his mug shot.

In February, Ricks was shot in the left shoulder, right leg and right thigh in the 3300 block of E. Baltimore St., according to police reports. Police said he wouldn't cooperate with the investigation, and no arrests were made.

But the detective assigned to the shooting was the one who noticed the similarity between Ricks and the sketch of the Roland Park attacker, leading to the arrest.

When Ricks was 9, his mother began amassing arrests and convictions, mostly for drug possession, according to court records.

Court records show more than a dozen arrests over the years. Three drug cases ended with convictions. She served a three-month sentence for drugs from February to April 2000, prison officials said. Court paperwork shows that Jacqueline Ricks did not know who her son's father was.

The small family's three years in the Northeast Baltimore townhouse development were largely defined by violence.

For Brown, the Rickses' time there was a nightmare. She described loud fights and cursing and fighting.

"The whole time was terrible," she said. "He was a very irrational individual. I felt so uncomfortable that at some points I was afraid to go outside to walk to my car."

In June 2004, Jacqueline Ricks was arrested for using a 10-inch kitchen knife to stab her son in the back during one of their fights.

"He deserved it," she told an investigating officer, according to charging documents.

Jacqueline Ricks pleaded guilty in Baltimore Circuit Court to child abuse and on Jan. 20, 2005, was given probation before judgment. Probation officials said she will remain under their supervision until January 2010.

But that wasn't the end of fights between the two, according to documents filed in court.

The next month, Jacqueline Ricks sought and was granted a temporary protection order against her son.

"My son picked me up and stomped me in my face," her court application read. "I want him moved from my home. I'm scared of him."

She wrote that she heard him talking about guns and that she wanted him out of the house.

Weeks later, she dismissed that petition, but in June 2005, she filled out a second one. This time, she wrote, her son had choked and punched her and used a stun gun to shock her.

Two months later, in August 2005, Ricks was charged with first- and second-degree assault, during a fight at a house in the 5300 block of Gist Ave., where he occasionally lived. He was accused of using a 6-inch dagger to stab his female cousin in the eye.

City prosecutors placed that case on the inactive docket, they said, when an elderly neighbor told authorities that Ricks grabbed the knife from his cousin and stabbed her in self-defense.

It was the first of four times that Ricks would be arrested but not prosecuted on charges involving violence.

In the most serious case, a Baltimore County woman told police that she had been the victim of a home invasion robbery and sexual assault on March 9 last year. One of the men pistol-whipped her and sexually assaulted her.

No arrests were made until February, when a man told police he was with Ricks during the attack. Ricks was charged, but county prosecutors said the uncorroborated statement of a co-defendant wasn't legally enough to proceed with the case.

Ricks also was accused of following two 16-year-old girls in April last year in the 6900 block of McClean Blvd., near his mother's home. Charging documents say he grabbed the buttocks of one of the girls.

Those charges were placed on the District Court's inactive docket in June last year; prosecutors say there is no notation in the case folder explaining why.

One night in November 2006, the chaos from the Rickses' home Northeast Baltimore came into Brown's home.

Brown's 9-year-old daughter woke up screaming Nov. 18. Brown and her boyfriend rushed into the girl's room and saw blood in her bed. They realized she had been shot in the buttocks.

Police arrived and found that the bullet had come through the wall that the Browns shared with the Ricks family. Brown said that Chaz Ricks lived in the front bedroom where the bullet had come from.

Ricks was charged with first- and second-degree assault and numerous weapons violations. His mother gave police a taped statement implicating her son, according to court records. Police said they believe the gun accidentally fired while Ricks was playing with it.

Prosecutors dropped all charges against him on Dec. 19, saying that there was no way to prove Chaz Ricks had fired the gun.

Brown, who said she can't stop thinking about how she could have lost her daughter that night, was livid. When she learned about the charges being dropped, the detective who investigated tried to comfort her, she said. She will never forget what he told her:

"He said, 'Don't worry about it. He's going to do something else stupid.'"


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