Text message leads to arrest
City teen charged in double homicide
By Gus G. Sentementes
Originally published May 2, 2006
The midday slayings were brazen: a man and a pregnant woman from Carroll County gunned down in a West Baltimore neighborhood two weekends ago.
But police say the suspect did something that was equally bold soon after the shootings. Charging documents say that he sent a chilling text message to someone that read: "I killed 2 white people around my way 2day & 1 of them was a woman."
Police have charged 17-year-old Davon David Temple as an adult in the April 23 killings of Jennifer Lynne Morelock, 25, and Jason David Woycio, 29. Temple is the eighth juvenile to be arrested on murder charges this year, according to the city state's attorney's office.
The evidence cited in court documents illustrates the ubiquitous role that cell phones have assumed in Baltimore's drug trade. Dealers in gangs use them to keep in touch as they fan out to sell drugs on neighborhood corners, through verbal conversations and text messages. The more savvy criminals will keep cell phones for a short time, and then throw them away, for fear of being tracked through wiretaps and other tactics by police.
But for those who hold on to their cell phones, police report finding a trove of information, sometimes including contact lists that lead them deeper into Baltimore's underworld of drug dealing, gang activity and violence.
A clear motive in last month's killings, which occurred in the 2500 block of Arunah Ave., has remained elusive, but they appear to be drug-related, police say. Though the text message referred to the victims' race, there is no indication in charging documents that race played a role. Temple is black.
Woycio was shot while sitting in the passenger seat of a red 1999 Pontiac Grand Am. Morelock was found outside the car, lying on her back in a nearby yard.
They died later that day at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
Robbery appears to be an unlikely motive. Both were found with cash, credit cards and cell phones in their possession, charging documents show. Morelock's purse still contained her wallet, credit cards and $164.70 in cash. Woycio had $114.85 in cash.
As part of their investigation, police detectives determined that Morelock and Woycio had frequented the area for the past eight months and had been involved with drug dealers along Edmondson Avenue, police charging documents indicate.
Both were from Carroll County - Morelock from New Windsor and Woycio from Westminster. Morelock was five months pregnant, police said. Doctors were unable to save her fetus.
Relatives of the victims could not be located for comment yesterday. Police have said that Morelock had a 15-month-old daughter who lives with her husband, from whom she is separated. Morelock and Woycio were friends, police said.
In investigating the killings, police developed leads through a combination of tips and street interviews with people in an area known for drug and gang activity, particularly the Bloods gang, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the neighborhood.
The case began to come together for police investigators late last week. While following tips Friday, Lt. William Davis, head of the Western District's violent offender squad, was led to the suspect's home in the 2500 block of Lauretta Ave. - two blocks from the murder scene - charging documents say.
Davis spotted Temple in the block and stopped him for a field interview - and then asked the teen if he could look at his cell phone to see if there were any gang members listed in the phone, the documents say.
The boy handed over his cell phone and Davis searched through it. The lieutenant stumbled upon the message, which was dated the day of Morelock and Woycio's deaths, according to charging documents. Temple told police that he hadn't allowed anyone else to use his phone but couldn't say how the text message got on the phone, charging documents said.
There is no indication in the charging documents that the teen admitted to the killings.
Temple was arrested and charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault and handgun violations. He was ordered held without bail during a bail review hearing yesterday, according to Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office.