Stolen car links drug ring suspect to murder

BALTIMORE (WMAR) - As one of 11 members of a drug crew arrested today for their activities in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Baltimore, Robert King, 19 will face additional charges relating to the murder of Jenna Manual. Charging documents from the case show a report of a stolen car ultimately led to his arrest. Manual, 24, was shot and killed on July 16, 2016 while sitting in her car on the 600 block of Maude Street. She was driven to the hospital with her 5-day-old baby in the car, where Manuel was pronounced dead.

On the day of the shooting, witnesses reported the suspect in the shooting drove a red or burgundy Honda with tinted windows, according to the charging documents. A possible license plate was also provided, though it was linked to an SUV that did not match the description. But a search of similar plate numbers produced a burgundy 2007 Honda, revealed to be registered to King’s aunt. 

Shortly after the homicide, the police were called to the 3500 block of Horton Avenue on the report of a stolen car. King’s cousin had reported the burgundy Honda bearing the previously identified plates as stolen. Investigators later revealed the residence reporting the auto theft was also linked to King from a prior arrest. 

As police followed up on the stolen car report, they unearthed video of the 1300 block of Filbert Street where the Honda was recovered. The video showed three males, one of whom matched the description of the shooting suspect, staging the car so that it appeared stolen. 

Witnesses had reported seeing King driving a vehicle similar to the one reported in the shooting, and departmental databases revealed King had been stopped in March and June of 2016 while operating a burgundy 2007 Honda. 

The charging documents state that historical and GPS data retrieved from King’s phone place it near the 600 block of Maude Avenue at the time of the homicide. Additional witnesses said that in conversation, King claimed responsibility for Manuel’s murder following the shooting. 

King now faces a litany of charges. For the murder of Jenna Manuel, he has been charged with first degree murder, use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence, and other related charges. This is on top of 84 total counts involving heroin and cocaine related to the larger drug case.

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