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Murder Ink

By Anna Ditkoff | Posted 4/29/2009

Murders this Week: 5
Murders this Year: 72

Tuesday, April 21

5:40 a.m. Qonta Waddell's mother opened the door to the house she was in on the 3100 block of Windsor Avenue in West Baltimore. She saw her son, a 24-year-old African American man, and a man with a gun. The man pushed Waddell inside and followed him in with another man. The men forced Waddell to make a phone call and waited for the person Waddell called to arrive. When that person did not show up, the two men forced Waddell out of the house. His mother called police to report that her son had been abducted. Meanwhile, just outside the house, her son was shot in the chest and died.

1:31 p.m. Police were called to the 700 block of Yale Avenue near Loudon Park Cemetery for a suspicious death. When they arrived they found Melody Smith, a 54-year-old African-American woman, dead on the floor of her home. The Medical Examiner's Office ruled her death a result of asphyxiation, making it a homicide. Smith is the sixth female murdered this year.

8:14 p.m. That night, Kenneth Johnson, a 23-year-old African-American man, was walking with some friends in the 5100 block of Hillburn Avenue in Waltherson. Someone came up to the group and tried to rob them. Johnson struggled with the robber and was shot repeatedly. He ran to the porch of a home and collapsed. Johnson died at an area hospital at 8:52 p.m. None of his friends were injured during the robbery.

Thursday, April 23

8:53 a.m. Jasmon Jiggetts, a 28-year-old African-American man, was found shot repeatedly in the stairwell of the building where he lived in the 1600 block of East Eager Street near Johns Hopkins Hospital. He died half an hour later at a local hospital.

Saturday, April 25

8:25 p.m. Two people were shot in the 3200 block of Normount Avenue by Gwynns Falls Park. An 18-year-old African-American male was shot in the side and was taken to a local hospital in serious but stable condition. Maurice Toomer, a 17-year-old African-American male, was shot in the head and died. Toomer is the eighth person under the age of 18 murdered this year.

Updates

On April 17, a Baltimore City Grand Jury indicted Tayvon Bradford, a 20-year-old African-American man, for a double shooting that left Bryant Wallace, a 21-year-old African-American man, dead. Wallace and a friend were shot in the 1800 block of Braddish Avenue on July 11, 2008.

Also on April 17, Darante Jones, a 20-year-old African-American man, was sentenced to 28 years in prison (five of which are without the possibility of parole) for the murder of Tyrone Bahia, a 19-year-old African-American man. On March 27, 2008, Jones approached Bahia and another man and demanded money. Bahia and the man emptied their pockets and gave about $50 to Jones. Bahia and the other man started to walk away, but Jones shot them, hitting Bahia in the lower back and right arm, killing him. The other male was hit in the abdomen, but survived.

Jason Allen, 25-year-old African-American man, was sentenced to life in prison on April 21 for the murder of Jeff Payne, a 22-year-old African-American man. Allen shot Payne at a party at the Morgan View Apartments on Feb. 15, 2008. Powerful Aguilar, a 24-year-old African-American man, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact and was sentenced to five years in prison of which four years, 8 months, and 13 days were suspended. At Allen's sentencing, Payne's family gave a victim impact statement, which according to the State's Attorney's Office "told the judge about how the victim survived years of civil war in Liberia, only to be gunned down in the United States."

Jermaine Cornish, an 18-year-old African-American man, pleaded guilty on April 22 to the murder of Quentin Riddicks-Flowers, a 31-year-old African-American man. Cornish came up behind Riddicks-Flowers on Nov. 27, 2007, and started hitting him. Cornish wrestled Flowers to the ground and then beat him in the head with a tree branch. Cornish was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Donte Martin, a then-17-year-old African-American man, was also arrested for the attack, but the charges against Martin were dropped.

On April 23, a Baltimore City Grand Jury indicted Dontae Preston, a 30-year-old African-American man, for the murder of Keon Barnes, a 35-year-old African-American man. Barnes was shot to death on March 14.

On April 23 three males were indicted in connection with the murder of David Wright, a 47-year-old African-American man. Fifteen-year-old African-American male Brian Watkins and 18-year-old African-American male Gregory Riddick Jr., were charged with murder and robbery with a deadly weapon, among other counts. Twenty-one-year-old African-American man Lyndon Waddell Jr. was charged with robbery counts. According to the State's Attorney's Office, Watkins, Riddick, and Waddell robbed Wright after a drug transaction on Feb. 4 and then shot him in the head.

Also on April 23, police arrested Ronnie Winkler, a 34-year-old African-American man for the murder of Kiuna Jackson, a 19-year-old African-American woman. Jackson was found under a bridge in the 3700 block of Harford Road on Aug. 15, 2008. According to The Baltimore Sun, Winkler is a convicted rapist, who was released from prison in 2007. Since then, he has been charged with two other rapes. Winkler is not being charged with sexual assault in Jackson's death.

Two arrests were made this week in the death of Lemuel Wallace, a 37-year-old African-American man who was blind and mentally disabled. On April 24, police arrested Kevin Pushia, a 32-year-old African-American man, and James Clea, a 31-year-old African-American man, was arrested the next day in South Carolina. Wallace was found shot to death on the floor of a public bathroom in Gwynns Falls Park on Feb. 4. According to a Baltimore Sun article, Pushia confessed to paying a hit man $50,000 to kill Wallace. Pushia worked at Arc of Baltimore, an organization that helps the developmentally disabled, and for four months during that time he allegedly got Wallace and several other developmentally disabled clients to make him a beneficiary of their life-insurance policies. Pushia allegedly took out up to six insurance policies on Wallace, which were worth almost $1 million according to The Sun. Pushia founded the Church of Deliverance and allegedly used funds from that church to hire the hit man.

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