No arrests yet in fatal stabbing

April 14, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

A man who was found stabbed to death on the walkway of Bethel Gardens Apartments Thursday has been identified as 31-year-old Leo Anthony Morris, aka "Cash," Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. Paul Kifer said.

Morris was found in the 300 block of Bethune Avenue at about 4:45 a.m. Thursday. Kifer said Morris did not have a fixed address, but had family in Ranson, W.Va., and Tennessee.

The motive for the stabbing is still under investigation, he said. Police had not named any suspects by this morning.

Bethune Avenue is a narrow street between Henry Avenue and North Potomac Street in the Jonathan Street neighborhood.

Police passed out fliers to residents in the community seeking information on an "altercation/homicide" that occurred Thursday morning. It appears that the altercation and stabbing occurred where Morris was found, Kifer said.

Morris' body was sent to the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy.


On Thursday afternoon, residents of Bethel Gardens Apartments went about their normal routines.

"This is a nice neighborhood. This is the first time this has happened up on the hill," said Mary Spencer. "I hope they catch the person who did it because that's somebody's child."

Spencer, 50, said she's not scared that the stabbing happened near her house, calling the slaying a "random" occurrence.

Angie Pittman, 30, agreed that the death was random, but said it's "always frightening when it happens close to home."

"Crime's gonna be anywhere," she said. "Bad things happen sometimes."

Bethel Gardens Apartments resident Hazel Parson expressed more concern. She said she used to live on the corner of Bethel Street and has seen a man get killed before. She said she moved "up on the hill" to get away from the commotion, but said the slaying will not affect her way of life.

Her 3-year-old grandson pushed along on a scooter as she talked.

Kifer, Lt. Michael King and Capt. Charles Summers combed the neighborhood for evidence Thursday morning - walking in lines, looking down on the damp grass in the yard of Ebenezer AME Church at 40 W. Bethel St.

The church's yard is just down the hill from where Morris's body was found.

Kifer said there is "nothing indicating it is related to the drive-by shooting" that was reported Wednesday morning. He said police have no information that Morris was affiliated with a gang.

Wednesday's shooting, reported to police shortly before 2 a.m., occurred at the intersection of Hamilton Lane and Forest Drive, not far from where Morris's body was found Thursday morning.

In Wednesday's shooting, a bullet was fired from a newer model Chrysler or Dodge van into a Nissan Maxima, piercing the door of the Maxima before striking a cell phone in the pocket of a back seat passenger, Kifer said.

No one needed medical attention in that incident.

Police ask anyone with information on either the stabbing death or the shooting to call them at 301-790-3700, ext. 234.

A reward is offered for anyone with information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the stabbing death.

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