Police have arrested two teenagers in the murder of Kimberly Leto, 51, who was found dead in her Highlandtown home last Friday morning.
Arrested were Alonzo Gorham-Ramos, 14, and Allen Pinkney, 16.
Gorham-Ramos has been charged as an adult with first- and second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and possession of a dangerous weapon with intent to injure. Pinkney has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and possession of a dangerous weapon with intent to injure.
A statement of probable cause for Gorham-Ramos’ arrest states that police received a call for a “suspicious death” at 409 S. Ellwood Ave. on Friday, Jan. 31, 7:24 a.m. The responding officer found Leto, who was unresponsive. Members of the Baltimore Fire Department then responded, and pronounced Leto dead at 7:34 a.m.
The charging documents state that Leto had significant wounds to her chest and back; the responding officer also noticed that the rear first-floor kitchen window was open and unlocked. He requested help from the Baltimore Police Homicide Section.
During the course of the homicide investigation, it was determined that Leto had been burglarized during the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 31, the charging documents say. During the burglary, in which an iPad and other items were taken, she was stabbed multiple times in her living room and died of her wounds. The Medical Examiner’s Office, after an autopsy, confirmed that Leto died of stab wounds in a homicide.
Police say that the suspects had utilized an outdoor chair to enter Leto’s house via the kitchen window. Investigators searched for evidence, and found a bloody Adidas shoe-print, according to the statement of probable cause.
As the investigation continued, a detective found out that Leto had reported a “suspiciously similar” burglary less than six months ago, on Aug. 19, 2013. The Guide’s police blotter published one burglary incident on that block that day:
S. Ellwood Ave., 400 block, Aug. 19, 4:40 a.m. A woman reported that while she was asleep, she was awoken by a man who came in through the open rear window. He tried to take her laptop, but fled when she saw him. The victim gave chase but lost him. She returned to find her iPhone, iPad, $40 and keys missing.
The probable cause statement says that fingerprint evidence led police to identify Gorham-Ramos as the suspect in that 2013 burglary.
This past Saturday, Feb. 1, police located Gorham-Ramos and brought him in for questioning with his mother. During the interview, police noticed that Gorham-Ramos was wearing Adidas sneakers. A closer look revealed that the sneakers matched the bloody print found at the murder scene, the charging documents say. The documents go on to say that Gorham-Ramos admitted to burglarizing Leto’s home with an accomplice, Pinkney, and that she woke up during the burglary and was subsequently stabbed and killed.
The statement of probable cause for Pinkney’s arrest says that police brought him in and read him his rights on Sunday, Feb. 2. Charging documents state that both Pinkney and Gorham-Ramos gave “detailed statements with intimate knowledge of the crime scene to include the location of the victim’s body and the property stolen from the residence.”
On Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m., Commissioner Anthony Batts held a press conference to announce the arrests of Gorham-Ramos and Pinkney for Leto’s murder.
At the Southeast District Police Community Relations Council meeting on Monday, Feb. 3, Capt. Deron Garrity, who is succeeding Maj. William Davis as commander of the Southeast District, told residents that Leto’s murder “wasn’t a random act.”
“They weren’t going around house to house,” he said.
Garrity referenced the Aug. 19 burglary.
“For some unknown reason, he comes back with this accomplice and commits this act,” he said.
He added that police worked “24-7, trying to put this down.”
One resident asked if there was “specific, forensic evidence” linking Gorham-Ramos and Pinkney to the crime.
“There is no doubt that these individuals were in the house,” said Garrity, adding that there was indeed forensic evidence.
Leto worked as a bartender at O’Donnell’s Pub on S. Potomac St. A celebration of her life and memorial will be held for her on Friday, Feb. 7, at the Polish Home Club, 512 S. Broadway in Fell’s Point.
by Erik Zygmont