The Baltimore Sun from Baltimore, Maryland on July 12, 1988 · 44
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The Baltimore Sun from Baltimore, Maryland · 44

Baltimore, Maryland
Issue Date:
Tuesday, July 12, 1988
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2 TUESDAY, JULY 12, 1988 ' ! ' News xCountySun Annapolis By Jonathan Fellner Staff writer The Annapolis City Council last night passed the strictest landlord bill in the state, in an effort to combat deteriorating and deplorable conditions at Boston Heights. The bill, passed unanimously, raises the fine for violating city housing standards to $1,000 a day per violation up from $100 as well as opening the door to sentencing violators to up to six months in jail. The city's action was taken after numerous attempts to work out an agreement with Dr. Sateesh K. Singh, owner of the 159-unit apartment complex, failed. "In Boston Heights, several units are just boarded up, and there's absolutely no incentive on the part of the landlord to do something about it," Annapolis Mayor Dennis Callahan said before the vote. "It truly looks like a war zone." Alderman Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, and Mayor Callahan have been been vocal critics of the de- Police suspect sexual assault in killing Personal items left behind rule out robbery of Annapolis woman by Samuel Goldreich Staff writer Although Annapolis police will not confirm that a woman found drowned near Bembe Beach last Tuesday was sexually assaulted, they suspect an attempted assault was behind the July 5 killing. Police are investigating a list of people who might have had contact with city resident Elizabeth Bateman Greenberg the night before her body was discovered floating in shallow water on Back Creek near the Annapolis Sailing School shortly after 10 a.m. Ms. Greenberg, 34, of the 900 block of Windsor Avenue, drowned after receiving a blow to the back of her head with a blunt instrument, according to an autopsy by the state Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore. She was found nude below the waist; her shorts were discovered on a nearby jetty. Police also found money and personal property nearby, leading them to rule out robbery as a motive for the slaying, said Capt. John Wright, who heads the Criminal Investigations Division. "The best probability is that this is a sex-related murder," Captain Wright said yesterday, adding that the assailant probably did not start out to kill Ms. Greenberg. Although Captain Wright said police have made no determination that Ms. Greenberg was sexually assaulted, they are actively pursuing that as a motive in the killing. State medical examiner Dr. John Smialek, whose office performed an autopsy on the body, supported Captain Wright's theo- Council cracks down on errant "It's designed to send a powerful message to slumlords that the city won't tolerate slum dwellings." CARL 0. SNOWDEN Alderman, D-Ward 5 velopment, purchased by Dr. Singh in 1983. Dr. Singh was unavailable for comment. The original impetus for the strict standards came last month. Mayor Callahan toured the housing complex one weekend, and the following Saturday, some 150 volunteers cleared the parking lot of garbage. Mayor Callahan and Mr. Snowden decided they had had enough. A proposal to counter abuse of the city's housing standards was first made at last month's council meeting. "If passed, the bill would be the Police are running down a list of names of people who knew or might have seen Ms. Greenberg the night before she was found dead. The list was compiled as much to eliminate suspects as to find them, Captain Wright said. ry last week, saying In a published report that Ms. Greenberg had been sexually assaulted. But, acting on police instructions, he declined to confirm or deny that report yesterday. Nor would he comment on whether the blow to Ms. Green-berg's head or bruises on her buttocks could have been caused by a fall rather than someone hitting her, saying such information might disrupt police investigations. Captain Wright said police have been unable to find or determine what was used to hit Ms. Greenberg on the head. Police believe Ms. Greenberg was killed only a few hours before her body was found. The body was still warm and had not yet stiffened from rigor mortis, which usually sets in two or three hours after death, police said. Police have no suspects in the case but are following several strongest penalty of its kind in Maryland," Mr. Snowden said before the meeting. "It's designed to send a powerful message to slumlords that the city won't tolerate slum dwellings." Since the last council meeting, two council committees economic matters and rules worked out the details that led to last night's proposal. The main parts of the new law include: Increasing the maximum fine rental property owners pay when their property violates city housing standards from $100 to $1,000 a day for each violation. Making neglect of property a misdemeanor, thus allowing property owners to be sentenced to a maximum of six months In jail. Revoking or suspending landlords' rental licenses and prohibiting them from resuming business until the violations are corrected. If a revocation or a condemnation of the property is required, leads, Captain Wright said. "One theory is that she knew who the killer was," he said. Police are running down a list of names of people who knew or might have seen Ms. Greenberg the night before she was found dead. Captain Wright said. The list was compiled as much to eliminate suspects as to find them, he said. Witnesses told police that Ms. Greenberg was seen alone In a number of downtown bars after watching the Independence Day fireworks display on a friend's boat in the harbor earlier in the evening. She was last seen leaving Mums Restaurant on Dock Street shortly after midnight. Captain Wright said. Police did not know whether she was alone when she left, he said. Prior to being seen at Mums, Ms. Greenberg had been seen alone at the Rocks, an Eastport bar. Police also are investigating what they believe to be blood found on the jetty near where the body was found, Captain Wright said. If tests show it to be Ms. Greenberg's blood, that might mean she was killed on the jetty. But Captain Wright cautioned that police cannot know if the sample is Ms. Greenberg's blood, non-human blood or blood at all, until FBI tests are completed. The sample was sent to an FBI laboratory yesterday. Although Captain Wright said he is confident police will solve Ms. Greenberg's slaying, he would not predict when that would happen. "It's hard to call at this point," he said. "We might solve It today. It could be next week or maybe never." - "This will provide an initiative to make slum and absentee landlords fix up their properties or go to jail." SAMUEL T.GILMER Alderman, D-Ward 3 the landlord could be liable for tenants' relocation costs. Alderman Samuel T. Gilmer, D-Ward 3, co-sponsored the bill, along with Mr. Snowden and Mayor Callahan. "We just figured that we need to put more teeth into our housing and regulations code," Mr. Gilmer said. "Some feel it's too weak, and this will provide an initiative to make slum and absentee landlords fix up their properties or go to jail." Mr. Gilmer denied that the bill was aimed against one person. "Making a law against one man would be against his constitutional Burglary suspect investigated in connection with shootings By Samuel Goldreich Staff writer Annapolis police are Investigating whether a man charged with burglary Saturday, who identified himself as "Cosmo," may be responsible for several possible drug-related shootings and a machine-gun attack in a public housing project last month. Max Hamilton Jackson, 20, of no fixed address, was being held without bond In the county detention center yesterday after police arrested him Saturday and charged him with burglary. Police have been searching for a reputed drug dealer nicknamed "Cosmo" since June 13, when a Robinwood town house rented by Russell Johnson was sprayed with automatic gunfire. Residents of the house said that a man called "Cosmo" was trying to take over the neighborhood. Police believe that the shooting, in which no one was injured, may have been drug-related. Mr. Jackson was arrested shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday, after police stopped a car in which he was a passenger for speeding on Forest Hills Avenue, near Bay Ridge Avenue. Mr. Jackson identified himself as "Cosmo," but denied any involvement with the shootings or drug trafficking, said Capt. John Wright, head of the Criminal Investigations Division. The suspect said that he was a native of Trinidad. Mr. Johnson's stepson, Benjamin Harris, 18, said a man who called himself Cosmo pointed a handgun at him June 10 and told him to get out of his territory, police said. . . , . Mr. Harris was sitting in Cosmo's car in Boston Heights at the landlords rights," Mr. Gilmer said. Mr. Snowden agreed, but added, "Admittedly, he Dr. Singh is the most serious offender." . "It's clear that it the proposal bill applies to any landlord who will allow his place to come into disrepair," Mr. Snowden added. The alderman said two other developments one on Johnson Street and one in Parole "could quickly come under this provision." An amendment introduced by Alderman Irving "Pete" Mager, I-Ward 2, stipulated that landlords must pay for relocation only to people who relocate within Anne Arundel County. The bill originally called for such costs to be born by the landlord if the tenant relocated within a 30-mile radius of the property. Mr. Mager's amendment was approved. "If they tenants go to Washington, the chances are they might never come back," and landlords would be unfairly penalized, Mr. Mager said. time, police said. In two separate incidents later that same weekend, someone shot at Rachel Johnson with a shotgun and hit Mr. Johnson's car with shotgun fire, police said. The Johnsons had told police a man they identified as "Cosmo" was responsible for the attacks. Police are still investigating whether Cosmo was involved in the June 13 incident, in which the Johnson house was sprayed by more than 20 bullets. Seven people were in the home at the time. Increasing drug violence has been a matter of great concern to residents of Boston Heights and Robinwood. Both areas have long had reputations as open-air drug markets, but neither has a reputation for violence. Some residents of both neighborhoods assert that a man called Cosmo controls a drug gang composed of five Jamaicans and several local youths in Boston Heights, but police have never confirmed this. Police have been monitoring whether or not there are Jamaican drug gangs, or "posses," in the area. No more than 1 5 Jamaicans are dealing drugs locally, police say, and they appear to have no ties to posses that have been competing with local pushers for the markets in Washington, New York and, to a lesser degree, Baltimore. The posses are active nationwide and known for using extreme violence to take over local drug traffic. The violence extends to threatening law enforcement officials. Annapolis Mayor Dennis Callahan has also, been targeted, according to agents at the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

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