- The Washington Times - Monday, April 23, 2007



Man admits killing rival, gang snitch

A Baltimore member of the Bloods street gang who mistakenly thought a fellow gang member was a snitch, yesterday pleaded guilty to two murders.

Prosecutors said Jamal “Munchie” Winchester, 23, fatally shot Victor Lama Richards, 23, in March 2006.

Police said that Richards was a member of the rival Crips gang, and that the two men had been arguing over drug-trafficking territory in the Oliver community in East Baltimore.

A month later, Winchester shot fellow Bloods member Jarell Lamont Adams, 21, in the belief that Mr. Adams was cooperating with police on the first murder, prosecutors said.

In fact, police said, Mr. Adams had been questioned but never identified Winchester as Mr. Richards’ killer.

Winchester pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and two handgun charges.

Baltimore Circuit Judge John Themelis sentenced Winchester to two life terms, suspending all but 50 years for the murder counts and 20 years in prison for the handgun counts.


Arson suspected in several car fires

Arson investigators are looking into a string of suspicious fires that damaged vehicles in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties yesterday.

Montgomery County fire department spokesman Peter Piringer said the first incident was reportedabout 1 a.m. in the 800 block of Hartford Avenue in Silver Spring. Two vehicles were discovered burning at that location, and another one was found nearby a short time later.

At about 1:45 a.m., a commercial van was found burning on a parking lot in the 8100 block of Piney Branch Road.

Prince George’s fire investigators are also looking into a car fire in the 3700 block of Perry Street in Mount Rainier. That fire was reported at about 2 a.m.

Investigators are trying to determine whether car fires reported in the Twinbrook area of Rockville on March 6 could be related. A tip line has been set up at 240/777-2263.

Four motorcyclists killed in crashes

Maryland State Police said at least four persons were killed in motorcycle crashes Sunday on Maryland roads and fear more are on the way with the arrival of warm weather.

Jean D. Patterson, 41, of Landover, was killed when she accelerated away from a trooper who had stopped her for speeding on Interstate 270 in Rockville. As the trooper walked up to her, she sped away and then lost control of her motorcycle.

Kevin M. Davis, 27, of Middle River, died on the Outer Loop of the Baltimore Beltway near Philadelphia Road after losing control of his motorcycle while attempting to perform a stunt.

Two persons were killed on Interstate 97 near Benfield Road when the motorcycle they were riding at an apparent high speed crashed. They are identified as Kevin C. Ross Jr., 19, of Baltimore, and Lora J. Burgess, 20, of Laurel.

Col. Thomas E. Hutchins, superintendent of the Maryland State Police, earlier this month had directed troopers to be aware of the coming increase in motorcycle traffic. He called for increased enforcement efforts, as well as increased public awareness efforts for motorcyclists and automobile drivers.


School board member accused of misconduct

The Prince George’s County school board passed a resolution yesterday to investigate the conduct of a board member on a recent trip to a conference in California.

The resolution says the school board is concerned that school board member Nathaniel Thomas, 26, took a Prince George’s County student to the National School Boards Association conference in San Diego on April 12.

The 18-year-old student’s parents initially reported him as missing.

The board resolved yesterday to have an independent investigation of the situation. In the meantime, Mr. Thomas is banned from school buildings and activities.

E-Z Pass offers to replace older units

Maryland drivers with older E-Z Pass transponders will be getting replacements.

Letters are going out to 50,000 people who have had their transponders for more than five years.

The new units will be sent later along with prepaid envelopes for the return of the old units. Those who do not return the units within 15 days will be charged $24.60.


PSC still considering utility-rate increase

The Maryland Public Service Commission is beginning a second week of hearings on Baltimore Gas and Electric’s proposed 50 percent rate increase for electric customers.

The company wants to impose the increase June 1 to begin charging market prices for electricity. BGE is also proposing giving customers the option to split the increase, paying half starting in June and the other half with interest starting in January.

Hearings were scheduled for yesterday and today for utility officials and regulators. Hearings for customers are set for tonight in Annapolis.

The company has asked the PSC to approve the request by the end of the month, in order to give customers the month of May to decide how they want to be billed.

PSC Chairman Steven Larsen said it is possible the commission will rule in the next week.


Man stabbed in fight after car accident

Baltimore County police are looking for a man who stabbed someone and fled after getting into an accident.

Police said two persons were driving on Chesaco Avenue when a vehicle driven by two men bumped into the back of their car April 14. Police said the men followed them onto Dalrose Avenue and a fight erupted.

During the fight, police said one man was stabbed repeatedly in the back. The victim was admitted to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in stable condition.

Police are looking for a burgundy or maroon small truck with square headlights. Police said the pickup should have damage to the grille, headlights and front bumper from the accident.


Party crasher charged in fatal stabbing

Baltimore County police charged a 26-year-old man with first-degree murder in a fatal stabbing of a man who was host of a party Saturday night.

Jason Madigan was arrested Sunday morning.

Witnesses said Mr. Madigan crashed the party in the 100 block of King Charles Circle early Sunday morning. When he was told to leave, police said he stabbed the host, Cheyenne Hope, 27.

Police said Mr. Madigan lived in the same neighborhood.

He is being held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center.


Man arrested in pedophile sting

Police arrested a Columbia man who they said solicited sex from an underage girl who actually was a Florida police detective.

Maryland State Police arrested Laurence Hartley Gross, 51, on Friday at his job at ReMax Realtors in the 8800 block of Center Park Drive.

Computers and other digital media were seized, and Mr. Gross was arrested and charged as a fugitive based on an arrest warrant obtained in Florida, police said.

He is charged with seven counts of sexual solicitation of a minor based on conversations in which he arranged an April 10 meeting with the Florida detective’s online persona, police said. He did not appear in Florida, and a warrant was obtained for his arrest for a violation of child-pornography laws.


Man shot, wounded in struggle with police

Baltimore police said an officer shot and wounded a man during a domestic dispute at a home in the city’s Morrell Park neighborhood.

Police went to the 900 block of Wilmington Avenue about 6 a.m. Sunday after a woman reported that her 24-year-old son had hit her and was fighting with her boyfriend.

When police tried to arrest her son, police said he shoved an officer off a porch and then refused to comply with the officer’s orders. The police department said the officer fired a shot out of fear for his safety. The man was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and is expected to recover.

The officer is a 12-year police veteran.



Rescued pelicans released in wild

The Coast Guard and an animal-rescue group released pelicans into the wild yesterday, two months after the birds nearly died from severe frostbite.

Twelve brown pelicans were found in February on the Eastern Shore after they failed to migrate to warmer climes, possibly because of the unseasonably warm winter.

The pelicans were taken to Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, based in Newark, Del., where they received veterinary care for frostbite injuries and dehydration.

Coast Guard members from Crisfield, Md., helped the bird-rescue group take the pelicans to an offshore island in the lower Chesapeake Bay and release them into a colony of brown pelicans.


Technical problem delays rocket launch

Equipment problems postponed yesterday’s scheduled launch of a rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island.

A spokesman for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said the problem involved “some kind of communications drop out” between the rocket and ground-support equipment used to monitor it. Rick Lehner said the agency will reschedule the launch of the Minotaur One rocket.

The Air Force rocket is sending up a satellite that is equipped with a tracking sensor to collect images from the exhaust plumes given off by intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

The experiment involves launching two disarmed Minuteman ICBMs from an Air Force base in California for the satellite to monitor. The Pentagon will use the data to develop a system capable of shooting down enemy ballistic missiles shortly after launch.

In December, a rocket carrying two experimental satellites became the first launch from the commercial spaceport.


Girl, 6, struck, killed in Northeast

A 6-year-old girl was struck and killed yesterday afternoon by a vehicle in Northeast, authorities said.

Just before 4:30 p.m., D.C. police found the girl unconscious at the intersection of Sixth Street and Orleans Place.

Police said a green vehicle, possibly a sport utility vehicle, traveling north on Sixth Street, struck the girl and fled the scene, WRC-TV (Channel 4) reported. The vehicle may have had Maryland license plates.

Chief Cathy L. Lanier urged the driver to turn himself in.

“It’s not too late, and the right thing to do is to come forward,” Chief Lanier said.

The girl died at a hospital.

Police said the girl was crossing Sixth Street to go to an after-school program when she was hit.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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