Police crack cold case death

The Baltimore Sun

Nicholas Dudley Pinderhughes Weaver's resume lists his schooling at Baltimore's Mount St. Joseph High School, work done with HIV-infected children in Africa and the steps he has taken toward a career in the law. He was an Eagle Scout, an acolyte at his church and, most recently, a student at a private university in New York.

But Weaver, 22, was pulled Thursday from a science class at Adelphi University and arrested in the fatal shooting of a teenager on a Woodlawn street nearly six years ago.

Former Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, a family friend, said he was stunned by the news.

"I've watched him grow up in the neighborhood," Schmoke, who lives on the same block as the Weavers in the Ashburton area of northwest Baltimore, said yesterday. "I hope that it gets resolved in his favor because I've always thought of him as a positive force in the community and a young man with a promising future."

Weaver - the grandson of the late Alice G. Pinderhughes, who was the first female superintendent of Baltimore City schools - was being held yesterday without bail in New York while awaiting extradition proceedings.

His attorney, Paul Testaverde of Queens, N.Y., said that his client is innocent and is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday in Long Island to contest extradition to Maryland.

"I think the police have either received bad evidence or there's a mistake here," the defense attorney said.

Weaver was one of two young men arrested in the death of David L. Baskin Jr., an aspiring rap musician who was shot in July 2002 near his Woodlawn home, just a day after his 18th birthday. Baskin's mother said yesterday that police told her he was the inadvertent victim of a group of West Baltimore boys who were feuding with a group from Woodlawn over a girl.

The other man, Charles Howard Davis, 21, was arrested Thursday at his home in the 2100 block of Maryland Ave. in Baltimore and charged with first-degree murder, police said.

Both Weaver, the accused shooter, and Davis were 16 at the time of the killing, police said.

Brenda G. Baskin, the victim's mother, said investigators have told her that her son was not the intended target of the bullets fired in the Heraldry Square neighborhood of Woodlawn shortly before midnight on July 3, 2002.

Rather, she said, her son was friends with the intended victim, who had given her son a hat like his as a birthday gift.

David Baskin was wearing that blue hat when he was killed.

"When the perpetrators came out seeking [the other boy], David fit the description," Brenda Baskin said. "They shot into the crowd a couple times. My son took one of those bullets."

When officers arrived, they found David Baskin suffering from a gunshot wound to his back, according to charging documents. He was pronounced dead on the street - in the 2500 block of Elesmere Court - with his friends and his mother standing nearby.

Cpl. Michael Hill, a Baltimore County Police Department spokesman, said he would not confirm or deny that David Baskin was involved in the feud over the girl.

Police began pursuing a fresh lead in the old case in January when an informant called with some new information, Hill said. That prompted detectives to re-interview Davis as well as others.

"We don't ever close any case, but we didn't have anything new until a few weeks ago," Hill said.

According to charging documents, the shooting occurred amid a simmering dispute between the two groups of boys in West Baltimore and Woodlawn.

In June 2002, a girl who had recently moved to the Heraldry Square neighborhood in Woodlawn was talking on the phone with a West Baltimore boy when she handed the phone to a boy from her new neighborhood.

Threats were exchanged, and the Woodlawn boy invited the West Baltimore boy to his house "to settle the problems between them," a detective wrote in the charging documents.

On June 28, 2002, the West Baltimore boy, Nicholas Weaver and several of their friends went to the Woodlawn boy's house "and beat him after he came to the door," according to charging documents.

Five days later, police say, the West Baltimore group returned with a gun.

One of the young men in the group that night told police last week that Weaver drove some friends to Woodlawn and parked near the girl's house, which is very close to where David Baskin was killed. Weaver and Davis got out of the car and were gone for about 15 minutes, according to charging documents.

When they returned to the vehicle, Weaver said, "It's done," according to the court documents.

The young man who spoke to police last week said that "he later learned that Weaver was the person who actually shot David Baskin" and that the other defendant, Davis, told him that he "disposed of the gun" used in the shooting, according to charging documents.

Weaver is the son of Dr. Jesse R. Weaver, a dentist, and Alice G. Pinderhughes, an attorney. Neither returned phone messages yesterday.

Christopher B. Weaver, the older brother of Nicholas Weaver, was killed in 2004 when an intruder entered his apartment in Hampton, Va., and opened fire with a handgun. The 22-year-old was a senior and a business major at Hampton University.

Hampton police told The Virginian-Pilot at the time that the motive for the shooting was unknown but that there was no evidence of a robbery. Five men were convicted in the killing, according to The Daily Press of Newport News.

Like his older brother, Nicholas Weaver attended the Gilman School, a spokeswoman for the school said. He transferred to Mount St. Joseph High School in 2002 and graduated in 2004 before enrolling as a history major at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y., according to a copy of Weaver's resume. He was scheduled to graduate this year.

According to the resume, Weaver worked in the summer of 2003 for a Baltimore law firm, delivering files to court, preparing files for hearings in uncontested divorces and conducting initial client interviews. During the next few summers, he worked with HIV-positive children at a hospital in Uganda, as a jury clerk for the Baltimore City Circuit Court and as an intern with the high-profile Baltimore law firm of Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger & Hollander.

Baltimore Circuit Court Clerk Frank Conaway described Weaver as polite, intelligent and handsome - and probably the best of the 10 summer clerks he hired in 2006.

"He was a good kid. What else can I say? He really was," he said. "And one of the few that wrote me a thank-you note for employment."

Weaver was charged in Baltimore in 2005 with marijuana possession and received probation before judgment, court records show.

Testaverde said Weaver recently took a law school admissions test and had been applying to law schools.

David Baskin's parents expressed relief yesterday at news of the arrests.

When Brenda Baskin arrived at work yesterday morning at the Baltimore City Department of Social Services, Baltimore County police Sgt. Allen Meyer, the lead detective in her son's murder case, was waiting for her.

"I knew," Baskin said in an interview. "I grabbed him and hugged him. I said, 'It's happened, hasn't it?'"

David Baskin Jr. and a group of friends from his neighborhood formed a rap group that they called Furilla. While David wrote the music for the group's songs, his friends served as lyricists, the Baskins said.

After David's death, his parents collected enough money to send their son's friends - along with tapes of David Baskin's music - into a recording studio. The resulting CD, titled Hard Times, features David's artwork and a photo of the spot where he was killed.

In the photograph, the blue hat he wore rests beside a bouquet of flowers on the blood-stained street.

jennifer.mcmenamin @baltsun.com

Sun reporters Gina Davis, Matthew Dolan, Julie Scharper and Laura Vozzella and reporters for Newsday in New York contributed to this article.

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