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Murder Ink

Posted 9/23/2009

Murders this Week: 5
Murders this Year: 167

 A man was killed while allegedly trying to burglarize a home in the 300 block of East University Parkway near Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus. University security was called to the home at 1:21 a.m. on Sept. 15 by neighbors who saw a suspicious person lurking around the house. Security, which included an off-duty Baltimore City police officer, went to the house where four Hopkins students lived but did not find an intruder. The house had been broken into earlier that evening and two laptops and an Xbox were taken. The students continued checking the property. One of them, who has been identified by The Baltimore Sun as John Pontolillo, grabbed a samurai sword. According to police, Pontolillo saw Donald Rice, a 49-year-old African-American man, crouched under a deck behind the house. Pontolillo raised the sword and told his friends to call the police. While his friends were inside getting their phones, Rice allegedly lunged at Pontolillo, pinning him against the wall of the garage. Pontolillo brought the sword down cutting Rice's torso and severing his left hand. Hopkins security and Baltimore police heard screaming and returned to the scene, where Rice died of massive blood loss. Pontolillo has not been charged with a crime, and Rice's death has not been added to the homicide rolls. The State's Attorney's Office is still reviewing the case.

There were also two police-involved shootings this week, one of them fatal. On Aug. 16 at 12:30 a.m., police were arresting two suspects in an alley off the 2800 block of Orleans Street on drug charges. One of the suspects got free and stabbed one of the officers in the back several times. The other officer shot the man repeatedly. The man died at an area hospital at 1:30 a.m. The officer who was stabbed in the back was not seriously injured-the knife did not fully penetrate his bullet-proof vest. The incident is being reviewed, but has not been added to the homicide rolls. The man, who police have not been able to identify, is the 12th person shot by police this year and the second this week-another man was shot by an off-duty cop during an alleged home invasion; he survived.

Monday, Sept. 14

12:01 a.m. Durrell Neal, a 31-year-old African-American man, was shot in the head and chest in the 500 block of Presstman Street in Druid Heights. He died in the street. This is the fourth murder on Presstman Street in a month.

Wednesday, Sept. 16

8:41 p.m. Police found Gerard Thomas, a 24-year-old African-American man, lying in the 3400 block of Cliftmont Avenue shot in head. He was dead.

Friday, Sept. 18

6:20 p.m. Stanley Mooring, a 50-year-old African-American man, was shot repeatedly in the 600 block of Ashburton Street in West Baltimore. He died at an area hospital an hour later.

11:07 p.m. Eugene Chambers, a 20-year-old Caucasian man, was shot several times inside his home in the 1600 block of Cypress Street. He died at an area hospital at 11:45 p.m. This is the second murder in Curtis Bay in two weeks.

Sunday, Sept. 20

10:05 p.m. Kareem Guest, a 31-year-old African-American man, was found shot several times in the 2400 block of Maisel Court in Westport. He died at a local hospital half an hour later


The name of the man shot to death at the intersection of Gilmor and Presstman streets in Sandtown-Winchester on Sept. 4 has been released. He was Jamaal Holmes, a 25-year-old African-American man.

A Baltimore City Grand Jury indicted James Starkes, a 23-year-old African-American man, on Sept. 3 for the murder of David Woodward. Starkes allegedly saw Woodward in the doorway of a store in the 900 block of Bennett Place on Dec. 23, 2008, followed him into the store, and tried to rob him. Woodward struggled and Starkes allegedly shot him in the head. The incident was caught on the storeís cameras.

The murder trial of William Key, a 21-year-old African-American man, ended with a hung jury on Sept. 10, but that afternoon Key pleaded guilty to the murder in question. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Key, a member of the Black Guerilla Family, recruited Kenneth Robinson, an African-American male who was 15 years old at the time, to join the gang. Robinson didnít want to go through the beating initiation often associated with joining a gang, so Key told Robinson he could murder someone instead. On Oct. 13, 2007, Deron Hope, a 16-year-old African-American male, was hanging out with friends on a stoop in the 1700 block of Latrobe Street, two blocks from the Baltimore City Public School Systemís headquarters. While his friends were inside, Hope was shot twice in the head at point-blank range. Hopeís friends heard the gunshots, looked outside and saw Key and Robbins running away. Key lived with his grandmother nearby. The next day, Keyís neighbor found two guns in the back yard. The neighbor put the guns in a box and called police. The guns matched bullets found in Hopeís right eye and skull. Neither Key nor Robbins knew Hope, who appears to have been a randomly chosen victim. Robbins confessed to killing Hope and pleaded guilty to the murder on May 13, but has not yet been sentenced.

On Sept. 15, police arrested Darrell Lisbon, an 18-year-old African-American man, for the murder of Trenton Marshall, a 20-year-old African-American man. Marshall was shot to death near a bus stop at East Northern Parkway and McClean Boulevard on Sept. 11.

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