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Murder Ink

By Anna Ditkoff | Posted 12/26/2007

Murders This Week: 2
Murders This Year: 277

This week 2007 became the most murderous year in Baltimore since 1999. So far, the city has surpassed last year's homicide total of 275, and 2004's total of 276, with 10 more days still to go before the year is out. Due to early deadlines, this week's column only covers homicides between Dec. 17 and 21.

The man who was found dead in a minivan in the 5900 block of Radecke Avenue on Oct. 29 has been identified as Fernando Rodriguez, a 35-year-old Hispanic man from Bronx, N.Y. Rodriguez had been shot in the back of the head. He is the fourth Hispanic person murdered this year in Baltimore City.

Two murders were added to the homicide roll this week. Monea Gorham was just 16 when she was shot in the neck in the 1500 block of Madison Avenue on Nov. 28, 1999. The shooting left her a quadriplegic. Gorham, a 24-year-old African-American woman, died on Sept. 19 at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center as a result of complications from the shooting.

On June 8 of this year, Jabari Stocks, a 3-year-old African-American boy, was at his home in the 900 block of East Patapsco Avenue in Brooklyn with his 5-year-old brother and his mother's boyfriend. After dinner the boyfriend found Stocks at the table throwing up. He called Stocks' mother, and she rushed home from work only to find the child unresponsive. He was taken to Harbor Hospital, where he died at 9:38 p.m. Stocks had small bruises on the upper left side of his chest, but there were no other apparent injuries. On Nov. 1 his death was ruled to be a homicide caused by head trauma. This is second time in a month that the death of a small child has been ruled a homicide. So far, 27 minors have been murdered in Baltimore this year.

Monday, Dec. 17

8:26 a.m. One of Lezli Dukes' three children went into their mother's bedroom and tried unsuccessfully to wake her up. The child called for help, but Dukes was dead. She had been asphyxiated. The night before her death, Dukes, a 22-year-old African-American woman, was at home in the 3200 block of Walbrook Avenue in West Baltimore. Her three children, which include a 3-year-old girl and a 1-year-old boy, were at home with her when she was seen arguing with her boyfriend, Brandon Spady, a 25-year-old African-American man who also lived at the residence. Spady was arrested the next day and charged with her murder. Dukes is the 24th female murdered in the city this year.

Thursday, Dec. 20

3:06 a.m. An unidenitified African-American man was found lying on the ground in the 2300 block of Atlantic Avenue in Mount Winans. He had been shot several times and was dead.

Updates

On Dec. 11, police arrested Juan Hernandez, a 19-year-old Hispanic man, for the March 30 murder of Estefany Gonzalez, a 16-year-old Hispanic girl.

On Dec. 17, police arrested two people for the Oct. 30 murder of Marlon Beckford, a 31-year-old African-American man. Lance Walker, a 31-year-old African-American man, was arrested at the home he shared with Nadirah Moreno, a 31-year-old African-American woman. Moreno was also arrested that day when her car was pulled over. According to police, Beckford was shot repeatedly while he was in a car with a woman and a 10-month-old baby. He tried to drive away but crashed the car. The woman and baby weren't injured.

Charles Brockington, a 47-year-old African-American man, was sentenced to five years in prison for voluntary manslaughter on Dec. 17. On June 29, Brockington found Joseph Johnson Jr., a 28-year-old African-American man, stealing the rims off his Mercedes Benz. Johnson was trying to drive away from the scene when Brockington shot and killed him.

On Dec. 18, William Salmeron, a 21-year-old man whose race cannot be determined due to conflicting information in court records, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and other charges, including attempted robbery. According to the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office, Salmeron entered a restaurant in the 400 block of South Newkirk Street on Jan. 15, 2006, with a group of people and attempted to rob the place. Jose Mendoza, a 40-year-old Hispanic man who owned the store, grabbed the shotgun the robbers were using and in the struggle for the weapon was shot in the head. Salmeron, who is an admitted gang member, is currently serving a 26-year prison sentence for a North Carolina murder. He has been charged with a Baltimore County murder as well. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison for Mendoza's death.

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