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Murder Ink

By Anna Ditkoff | Posted 10/21/2009

Murders this Week: 5
Murders this Year: 181

Tuesday, Oct. 13

8:46 a.m. A resident of the Saint Josephs neighborhood in Southwest Baltimore called police and told them a body could be found in the 3200 block of West Lexington Street. Mark Johnson, a 31-year-old African-American man, was discovered sitting in the driver's seat of a car parked in that block. He had been shot in the head and was dead.

Wednesday, Oct. 14

12:40 a.m. Ivan Wood, a 28-year-old African-American man, was shot several times in an alley behind the 3900 block of Elmora Avenue in Belair-Edison. People in the area heard gunshots and saw three men run from the alley, get into a white car, and drive away. Wood died at an area hospital at 8:48 a.m. This is the seventh murder this year in Belair-Edison, which is currently the most murderous neighborhood in the city.

12:44 a.m. Four minutes later, Lewis White, a 34-year-old African-American man, was in a car with a female friend parked in the 2300 block of Baker Street near Easterwood Park. According to police, White got out of the car to smoke a joint. While he was smoking, three males in their late teens or early 20s came up to him and shot him in the face. He was taken to a local hospital and died at 1:24 a.m.

Thursday, Oct. 15

9:25 p.m. Rashud Coates, a 31-year-old African-American man, went with a friend to the Garrison Lounge in the 2000 block of Denison Street to get some beer. Coates' friend went inside and while he was talking to some people he knew, another man came into the bar and said, "Man, some guy got lit up outside." Coates' friend went outside and saw Coates lying in the street bleeding. The front passenger-side window of the vehicle they had driven to the bar was shot out, and Coates had been shot repeatedly in the arms and legs. He died at a local hospital 40 minutes later. This is the 28th murder in the Southwestern Police district this year. Only the Northeastern district has more, with 34 murders in 2009.

Sunday, Oct. 18

12:55 a.m. A 21-year-old African-American man was shot numerous times in the head in the 1200 block of Hollins Street just a block from Hollins Market. The man died at an area hospital at 1:34 a.m. Police are waiting until the man's family has been notified of his death to release his name.


Melanie Blevins, a 23-year-old Caucasian woman from Westminster, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter on Oct. 13 for the death of her infant son. Blevins gave birth to a baby boy on Oct. 4, 2008, in a bathroom at St. Johns United Methodist Church in Charles Village, where she worked with a community-outreach program. The baby was born alive and Blevins put him in a plastic bag and threw him in a Dumpster behind the building. Blevins received five years of probation, 900 hours of community service, and time served, which was one day in jail.

Jamar Anderson, a 20-year-old African-American man, was convicted on Oct. 14 of murdering 17-year-old African-American male John Person. Anderson shot Person in the back on Aug. 7, 2008, in the 2900 block of Garrison Boulevard. Person became comatose after the shooting and died more than a week later. According to the State's Attorney's Office, Person was not the intended victim of the shooting. Anderson tried to break into a house the day before, but was stopped when a woman called 911. Anderson was trying to shoot the woman in retaliation. She was uninjured.

On Oct. 14, Mark Castillo, a 43-year-old Hispanic man, pleaded guilty to murdering his three children--6-year-old Anthony, 4-year-old Austin, and 2-year-old Athena. Castillo murdered the children to punish his wife, who was divorcing him. After spending March 29 at the Maryland Science Center, Castillo checked into a hotel and drowned the children one at a time. He held each under water for 10 minutes, using a stopwatch to time each drowning, and then laid them in bed. Afterward, he tried unsuccessfully to kill himself by stabbing himself in the neck and trying to overdose on Aleve. He has been sentenced to three life sentences without parole and has been referred to a psychiatric hospital/corrections facility.

Kennard Pratt, a 28-year-old African-American man who was in the Baltimore City Detention Center awaiting trial for the murder of Antron Betts, a 35-year-old African-American man, died. Pratt had been charged with shooting three people in the 1000 block of North Bond Street on Jan. 7. Two survived; Betts died. Pratt was stabbed to death inside the corrections facility on Oct. 15. His death is not being counted toward Baltimore City's homicide total; the Baltimore Police Department does not count murders in the detention center because the facility is run by the state.

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