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Murder Ink

By Anna Ditkoff | Posted 1/16/2008

Murders This Week: 3
Murders This Year: 5

January continues to be a quiet month for homicides, compared to the carnage we saw during this month in recent years. There have been 11 fewer homicides this year than at the same time last year.

Tuesday, Jan. 8

7:40 a.m. Jarrell Brown, a 30-year-old African-American man, was found dead inside a house in 3000 block of West North Avenue near Gwynns Falls Park. He had been shot in the head. Brown shared the house with his mother and sister. People were home when police arrived, but they have yet to explain the circumstances of Brown's death.

Wednesday, Jan. 9

8:10 p.m. Zechariah Hallback, an 18-year-old African-American male, and two friends headed to a bus stop near the intersection of 33rd Street and the Alameda, in front of Baltimore City College and just two blocks from the Stadium Place YMCA. A man was already waiting at the bus stop. He asked the group if one of them had a cell phone he could borrow to make a call. One of Hallback's friends lent the man his cell phone. The man made two calls. After hanging up, the man pulled out a black revolver and asked if any of them wanted to buy it. The man then said he was robbing them and demanded their money and cell phones. Both of Hallback's friends gave the man what they had. Hallback told the man that he didn't have anything with him. The man shot at the ground and told Hallback he was serious. He ordered Hallback and his friends into the alley behind the 1500 block of East 33rd Street and told them to lie on the ground face down. He rifled through Hallback's pockets but found nothing to take. He said something to Hallback and shot him in the head. The man then fled the scene. Hallback's friends weren't injured. Hallback was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was declared brain dead on Jan. 11 at 1:46 p.m. The shooter has been described as an African-American man between 20 and 25 years old, approximately 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds. He had short cornrows and was wearing dark-colored clothes at the time of the shooting.

Saturday, Jan. 12

1:10 p.m. Another teenager was murdered this week, this time in broad daylight. Willie Joyner, an 18-year-old African-American, was at the 25th Street Market in Barclay with a friend. A man walked in, came up to Joyner, and said, "Where's my money?" Joyner replied, "What money?" and the man pulled out a knife and stabbed Joyner in the chest. Joyner was taken to Hopkins Hospital where he died less than an hour later. A description of the attacker was broadcast among police, and a nearby sergeant recognized the man as Tyrone Allsberry, a 65-year-old African-American man who lived in an apartment building in the block where Joyner was stabbed. Allsberry was arrested there that day and charged with Joyner's murder.


On Jan. 9, police arrested Donnell Johnson, a 33-year-old African-American man, at his home in the 700 block of East 21st Street. Johnson has been charged with the Aug. 12 murder of Byron Dickey, a 28-year-old African-American man. Dickey was one of nine people murdered in the Barclay neighborhood last year. The neighborhood borders Charles Village and is just four blocks by five blocks.

The next day, Joshua Rice, a 27-year-old Caucasian man who was already at the Baltimore Detention Center, was charged with the May 22, 2004, murder of Jennifer Fischbach, a 32-year-old Caucasian woman. Fischbach was strangled.

On Jan. 11, police closed another 2004 murder. Anthony Thompson, a 51-year-old African-American man, was arrested in the 900 block of York Road after a sample of DNA at a 2004 crime scene was matched to him through CODIS. Thompson has been charged with the Sept. 28, 2004, murder of Leslie Berger, a 41-year-old Caucasian woman. Berger was found by her 14-year-old son after she was beaten to death in their home.

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