- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 14, 2006

A second man was charged last night in the killing last week of a retired New York Times editor.

Percy Jordan Jr., 42, of no fixed address, was charged with felony murder in the death of David E. Rosenbaum, 63, police said.

He is a cousin of Michael Cleveland Hamlin, 23, a truck driver from Southeast, who was arrested a day earlier and ordered held without bail yesterday on a charge of first-degree murder.

Mr. Jordan walked into the 7th District station on Alabama Avenue Southeast about 2 p.m. yesterday and asked to speak with officers, police said. After questioning and further investigation, he was charged.

His arraignment is scheduled for today in D.C. Superior Court.

Sgt. John Johnson would not say whether Mr. Hamlin gave his cousin’s name to police or whether Mr. Jordan had confessed.

Mr. Rosenbaum was beaten and robbed Jan. 6 and died of his injuries two days later at Howard University Hospital. A memorial service was held yesterday at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill.

He was recalled as a quiet hero of his profession.

“I have spent a week trying to come to grips with everything,” Philip Taubman, the New York Times’ Washington bureau chief, told a standing-room-only gathering. “It was unfathomable, unthinkable, unspeakable.”

Mr. Taubman said it was easier to make sense of Mr. Rosenbaum’s life as a devoted husband, father and journalist whose career spanned eight presidencies over 37 years as a Times reporter and editor.

Reading a statement from Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, who could not attend, Mr. Taubman said Mr. Rosenbaum “was not a pundit or a showoff.”

“In a city that breeds cynicism, he was not a cynic,” he said.

Mr. Hamlin, dressed in a white jumpsuit, did not speak in his appearance at the D.C. Superior Court yesterday.

His attorney, Stephen B. Mercer, argued for his release, saying his client was pleading not guilty despite the police assertion that Mr. Hamlin had confessed to being at the crime scene.

“The existence of a confession is a factual question that has to be answered [in court],” Mr. Mercer said after the hearing. “That question is far from being answered.”

Mr. Hamlin inadvertently turned himself in at the Metropolitan Police Department’s 7th District station Thursday evening. He had visited the precinct to find out why his picture was being shown on TV news, police said.

Police had released surveillance video showing a man using a credit card stolen from Mr. Rosenbaum in the attack. It was shown on the 5 and 6 o’clock newscasts.

According to court documents, Mr. Hamlin later told police he took Mr. Rosenbaum’s wallet after a second person used a black metal pipe to strike him as he walked near his home in the 3800 block of Gramercy Street Northwest.

In arguing for his client’s release, Mr. Mercer said the first reported instance of Mr. Hamlin using the stolen credit card occurred only minutes before the attack was reported to police.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Haines said Mr. Hamlin, who was convicted of robbery in Prince George’s County in 2003, should be held because of the crime’s brutality.

“The court is aware from the media attention to this case, that this is one of the most senseless and vicious crimes in recent memory,” Miss Haines said.

Mr. Hamlin’s next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 25.

Meanwhile, hundreds of relatives, friends and colleagues yesterday filled a room in the Dirksen Building to offer a tribute to Mr. Rosenbaum.

Mr. Rosenbaum’s daughter, son, brother and nephew eulogized a man who would rather spend time with his family than wine and dine with Washington’s elite.

Childhood friend Nick Bath remembered a humble, entertaining and intellectual man who cruised the streets of Tampa, Fla., with him as part of the “Rules Committee,” a group of neighborhood friends who hung out together.

Others remembered Mr. Rosenbaum as a contrarian willing to challenge conventional wisdom but able to respectfully argue a point.

“The echo of his heartbeat will be heard for generations,” said former U.S. Sen. David Pryor, Arkansas Democrat.

William Glanz and Jeffrey Sparshott contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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