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CRIME & COURTS

The Baltimore Sun

Man pleads guilty in death of high school athlete

A 24-year-old Baltimore man pleaded guilty yesterday to second-degree murder in the death of a high school lacrosse athlete who was an innocent bystander during a gunfight, according to the city state's attorney's office. Jerome Whitaker of the 3300 block of Ramona Ave. could be sentenced to up to five years in prison for his role in the death of Christopher Clarke, 18. In March 2007, Clarke was in the 3100 block of Cliftmont Ave. near his home in the Belair-Edison neighborhood when he was caught in the crossfire during apparent drug-turf violence, prosecutors said. Witnesses identified Whitaker and Antonio Santifer as the two men who exchanged gunfire. Santifer, of the 3100 block of Cliftmont Ave., was also struck but survived; he faces handgun possession charges. Clarke was hit and later died. Also at yesterday's hearing, Brandon Green, 23, of the 3300 block of Ramona Ave. pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to murder in Clarke's death and will be sentenced to five years in prison. Prosecutors say Green was at the scene with Whitaker, whose sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 20. Clarke, a senior at Patterson High, played on the football team and was an attackman on the lacrosse team. School officials dedicated last year's lacrosse season in Clarke's honor, and AT&T; later donated $5,000 worth of equipment on the slain student's behalf.

Brent Jones

Balto. Co. police probing woman's death; no arrests

Baltimore County police are investigating the death of a woman whose body was found yesterday evening in an Owings Mills house as a homicide, a police communications supervisor said. No arrests had been made as of late last night, and the victim's name was being withheld pending notification of family members. About 6 p.m., someone made a 911 call to police headquarters in Towson and reported a "cardiac arrest" at a house in the first block of Ritters Lane, the supervisor said. When police and medics entered the dwelling, they found the woman dead. Her body was taken to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

Richard Irwin

Police search for suspects in robbery, kidnapping

City police were seeking three men in the armed robbery and kidnapping of a male University of Maryland medical school student near his Hollins Market community home yesterday morning, said a Police Department spokesman. The 24-year-old student told police he parked his 1996 Honda Accord near his home in the 800 block of Hollins St. about 9 a.m. and was walking toward his home when he was stopped by two men, one armed with a handgun, who threw him to the pavement and robbed him of his keys, said Officer Troy Harris, the spokesman. Harris said the student told police that the men asked him where he parked his car and forced him inside the vehicle, a short distance away. There, a third man joined the other two, the student reported. He was then driven to Eastern Avenue and South Broadway in Fells Point, where he was forced to withdraw an undisclosed sum of cash from an M&T; Bank automated teller machine, Harris said. From there, the student told police, he was driven to several other ATMs downtown, but was unable to withdraw any more money. Harris said the student was dropped off unharmed at a location police declined to describe and called police. Anyone having information about the men involved in the robbery and kidnapping or the location of the victim's car is urged to call the Southern Police District's detective unit at 410-396-2499.

Richard Irwin

Student, 17, is held in Heritage High stabbing

A 17-year-old Heritage High School student was arrested yesterday and charged as an adult with attempted murder in connection with the stabbing of a fellow student Tuesday in a school hallway. Charging documents show that school police responded to the Lake Clifton campus about 12:20 p.m. and observed the victim "bleeding profusely" from the chest and left arm, as well as a large amount of blood on the floor in front of an office. Police located a confidential witness who identified the suspect through a photo lineup as Courtlyn Simon of the 300 block of S. Dallas Court. The victim, whom police did not identify, suffered a punctured right lung and a puncture wound to his left biceps and remained at Johns Hopkins Hospital yesterday. A District Court commissioner ordered Simon held without bail. He faces charges of attempted first-degree murder, assault, reckless endangerment and use of a deadly weapon with intent to injure.

Justin Fenton

Two brothers charged in their father's killing

Two brothers have been charged with first-degree murder in the killing of their father, who was found shot to death in an alley in Edmondson Village in May, prosecutors said yesterday. Sean Wesley Morris, 19, and Michael Alvin Morris Jr., 22, of the 800 block of Wildwood Parkway were arrested and charged last month with first-degree murder in the death of Michael Alvin Morris Sr., 46, who was found May 16 lying in the 4200 block of Colborne Road after being shot in the head. Homicide Detective Arthur Brummer wrote in charging documents that "independent eyewitnesses" identified the men as being responsible for the shooting. Seven .45-caliber shell casings were recovered from the scene, according to records. It was not clear yesterday what might have sparked the killing. Sean and Michael Morris are two of five children listed in a paternity case brought against Michael Morris Sr. in 1998, and court records indicate that he shared the address with them on Wildwood Parkway. The brothers were being held without bail at the Baltimore City Detention Center, and an arraignment is scheduled Nov. 24.

Justin Fenton

Man, 44, pleads guilty to having slot machines

A Baltimore County man pleaded guilty yesterday to three counts of possessing slot machines after police seized more than 100 gambling devices during a raid in May. Carroll Bond III, 44, president of Carbond Inc., was given three years' probation and will forfeit 114 amusement machines used for gambling and more than $22,000 seized with the machines, according to the Baltimore County state's attorney's office. County detectives seized machines owned by Carbond from 41 restaurants, bars and other establishments in one of the largest such raids in recent history, police said. Authorities have recently been cracking down on illegal payouts on amusement devices, and similar raids have occurred in Baltimore. Two years ago, the Abell Foundation released a report saying operators of video poker machines and other amusement video games cheat the state out of $15 million annually in uncollected tax revenue.

BRENT JONES

Prince George's officer acquitted in fatal pileup

LEONARDTOWN: A Prince George's County police officer on trial for manslaughter has been acquitted. Officer Scott Campbell was charged with causing a May 2007 pileup on the Capital Beltway that killed two people and injured 15. Judge Graydon McKee granted a motion for acquittal yesterday, saying that the case against Campbell was inadequate. An appeal is expected.

Associated Press

An article in yesterday's editions incorrectly stated the likely sentence for Jerome Whitaker, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Christopher Clarke. Whitaker is expected to receive 25 years in prison.The Baltimore Sun regrets the errors.
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