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Murder Ink

By Anna Ditkoff | Posted 7/1/2009

Murders This Week: 5
Murders This Year: 112

Tuesday. June 23

4:52 a.m. Police were called to the 2200 block of Tucker Lane in West Baltimore's Wakefield neighborhood for an assault in progress. They were led to an apartment where Wanda Hackett, a 50-year-old African-American woman, was lying on the bed with a pool of blood around her head. She had been strangled. Hackett was taken to a local hospital where she died at 5:31 a.m.Police found a torn window screen in the bedroom, and witnesses said they saw Richard Howard, a 42-year-old African-American man, crawl out of the window. When questioned, Howard allegedly admitted to having sex with Hackett and claimed that she died during sex. He has been charged with her murder.

Wednesday, June 24

6:10 p.m. Firefighters were battling a fire in the 1800 block of Saint Paul Street near the Charles Theatre when they discovered a body in the first floor of the house. The death of the man, 39-year-old African-American Edward Davis, was ruled a homicide because his death was caused by blunt-force trauma as well as asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation. This is the eighth murder in the Central police district this year.

Thursday, June 25

11:20 p.m. Stevie Ford Jr., a 19-year-old African-American man, was shot in the neck inside a house in the Perkins Homes public housing complex in the 300 block of Mason Court. Ford died at a local hospital at 11:55 p.m.

Saturday, June 27

3:58 a.m. Police found Robert Phelps, a 48-year-old African-American man, sitting on the porch of a home in the 3000 block of Baker Street. He had been stabbed in the neck and was bleeding severely. While police were dealing with Phelps, they were alerted to a second victim. James Johnson, a 52-year-old African-American man. He had been stabbed numerous times in the upper body, and was lying on a porch a few doors down. Johnson was dead. Phelps was taken to a nearby hospital where he died less than an hour later. Police believe both men were stabbed inside a house on the block.


The names of three of the four unidentified victims from last week's column have been released. Candido Hermandez, a 46-year-old Hispanic man, was shot in the 2700 block of East Fayette Street on June 19. Wesley Nelson, a 29-year-old African-American man, was shot in 1800 block of North Chapel Street on June 21. And Jermaine Womack, a 32-year-old African-American male, was stabbed on June 21 in the 300 block of Charter Oak Avenue. Police have still been unable to find the family of the 19-year-old African-American male killed as part of a double stabbing on June 18 in the 600 block of Tunbridge Road.

A sixth arrest has been made for the Nov. 18, 2008 murder of Steven Graham, a 14-year-old African-American male. Police arrested Joseph Brown, a 26-year-old African-American male on June 18. Five other people were indicted for the murder earlier this year. Graham was shot to death while riding his bike in the 400 block of Maude Avenue in Brooklyn. According to the State's Attorney's Office, Graham was killed because the group believed he was friends with someone who had robbed their drug house.

On June 23, police arrested Donte Jeter, a 22-year-old African-American man, for the murder of Tyrone Freeman, 25-year-old African-American man. Freeman was discovered shot in the head in the backyard of a house in the 2100 block of Orleans Street on May 4, 2008.

Tavon Dale, an 18-year-old African-American male, was arrested on June 26 for the murder of Anthony Benitez, a 21-year-old Hispanic man. Benitez was shot to death in the 1400 block of Anglesea Street on June 3.

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