- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 22, 2000

FREDERICK, Md. A mentally retarded man with a history of sexual offenses was charged yesterday in the killing of a 9-year-old boy, whose naked body was found in a dugout at a baseball field, police said.
Elmer Spencer Jr., 44, was arrested at a homeless shelter Monday night, less than a week after he was released from prison, Police Chief Regis Raffensberger said.
Spencer was released Nov. 14 after serving about four years of a 10-year sentence for assault and escape, said Leonard Sipes, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
Spencer was released early because of good-time credits accrued during the more than 13 years he served of a previous 22-year sentence for sexually assaulting a child, Mr. Sipes said.
"Credits accumulated through overlapping sentences continued to apply and could not be done away with," Mr. Sipes said yesterday.
Spencer was tracked down through an acquaintance, who identified him as the man seen with the boy in videotapes taken at two convenience stores, where the suspect bought items for the boy, police said.
"This tape is rather clear. It showed the individual coming to the store, followed by an individual who pointed to something. The victim picked up something and took it to the counter. The suspect apparently paid for it. I don't know what the items were," Chief Raffensberger said.
A bond review hearing, which police originally had said would be held yesterday afternoon, was postponed until today for Spencer, who was charged with first-degree murder.
Christopher Ausherman's body was found Monday morning at McCurdy Field after someone, who police said they believe was Spencer, called 911 Sunday night to report that he had seen a boy being beaten up at a ballpark, Chief Raffensberger said.
Police said the child had suffered blunt-force trauma, but they have not disclosed the cause of death or said if the child was sexually assaulted.
Police said they received the anonymous 911 call at 9:10 p.m. Sunday, about 3 and 1/2 hours after the boy was last seen by his mother.
"The initial language that he used was that he had seen a boy being beaten up at a ballpark," said police Lt. Thomas Chase.
Spencer, who once worked as a dishwasher in Mount Airy, was convicted of assault as a result of a plea-bargain agreement in a 1996 case in which he was initially charged with attempted rape, sexual offense and assault of a woman in Frederick, according to court documents.
Earlier in 1996, Spencer also was charged with third-degree sexual offense, assault and battery of a 7-year-old girl in Frederick. Those charges were later dropped, according to court documents.
Spencer, who is mentally retarded, also was released in 1994 from state prison after serving more than 13 years for sexually assaulting a child, the records show.
Alice Wetzel, a cousin of the boy's mother, Mary Voit, said yesterday that Miss Voit was staying with her two other sons at her mother's house because she could no longer stand to stay in her public housing apartment.
"She hasn't had any sleep. She says every time she lays down, she sees poor little Chris' face," Miss Wetzel said.
Another resident in the complex of pale yellow row houses, Charlotte Cavell, said she had worried in the past when she saw children playing in the area without adult supervision.
"Many times, I've told their mothers, 'Watch y'all's children,' because something like this is going to happen," Miss Cavell said.

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