Man killed in fire in Reisterstown

A man died in a fire near Reisterstown yesterday, county fire officials said.


The fire started about 11:45 a.m. in a single-family home in the 200 block of Church Road. Firefighters found heavy fire in the front of the house and smoke throughout.

Robert Eugene Peeling, 48, was dead in a front bedroom, the Fire Department said. Firefighters said they were familiar with the address because they had made medical calls there in the past. The man lived alone, the department said.


The cause of the fire was under investigation.


Essex man given life term in killing

A 36-year-old Essex man was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years in the death of a man who was shot last year while sitting in a car in Rosedale.

Charles Eugene Duckett Jr. was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder and a handgun charge after a Baltimore County jury deliberated for about two hours.

Richard T. Nock Jr., 29, was found dead just before midnight May 10, shortly after leaving his brother's house with $3,700 for a meeting with Duckett, according to charging documents.

Interviews with the victim's family, associates of the defendant and witnesses at the scene tied Duckett to the killing, said prosecutor John F. Riley, who handled the case.

County police Detective Philip G. Marll also used cell phone records to tie the defendant to the killing, charging documents said.


The case drew additional sheriff's deputies to the courtroom this week after authorities became concerned about possible witness intimidation when several spectators appeared to be taking pictures in the courthouse hallways with cell phones and lurking near the car of a relative of the victim. The use of cameras in the courthouse is prohibited.

Sheriff's deputies were posted at the courtroom door Tuesday and began checking identification before allowing spectators into the courtroom.

After the verdicts were announced, Duckett decided to be sentenced immediately. County Circuit Judge Mickey J. Norman imposed a life sentence on the murder conviction and added a consecutive 20-year prison term for the handgun conviction.

Jennifer McMenamin


Mikulski to discuss mortgage crisis


Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski will hold a round-table discussion on the mortgage crisis facing Maryland and the nation at 2 p.m. today at Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 8615 Church Lane in Randallstown.

Mikulski is expected to meet with leaders in the housing community to gather information and ideas on how the federal government can help homeowners who are facing foreclosure.

The Maryland Democrat will meet with Prince George's officials at 10 a.m. today at Church of the Everlasting Refreshing Spring in Riverdale.

Owings Mills

2 free workshops scheduled at center

The College Center at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore will hold two free workshops, "College 101: Exploring the College Process," Sunday at Rosen- bloom Owings Mills JCC, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave.


The workshops for prospective college students and their parents will be on college admissions at 11 a.m. for students in grades eight to 11; and financial information and college majors at noon for those in grades nine to 12.

Information: 410-542-4900, Ext. 271.


Business loans available for rehab

The county's Building Investment Loan Fund offers zero- or low-interest loans to qualified businesses and property owners in the 13 designated commercial revitalization districts.

Loans of up to $40,000 for exterior improvements and $20,000 for interior renovations are available. Eligible improvements include window and facade replacement, painting, landscaping, signs and electrical and HVAC systems.


Businesses also may qualify for free professional design services through the county's Architect on Call program, or a property tax credit for larger projects.

Commercial revitalization districts are in Arbutus, Baltimore National Pike, Catonsville-Paradise, Dundalk, Essex, Liberty Road, Loch Raven, Overlea-Fullerton, Parkville, Pikesville, Reisterstown, Towson and Woodlawn.

Information: 410-887-8000.


Athletic club plans open house, expo

The Maryland Athletic Club & Wellness Center will hold a free open house and wellness expo for National Heart Month from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at 110 W. Timonium Road, Timonium.


Guests can learn about the center's programs, take part in screenings and video analyses and visit more than 25 health and wellness vendors.

Information: 410-453-9111.

Events or news items for the digest can be submitted to Information should be sent at least 10 days in advance.