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Cocaine, paranoia led to Towson hotel homicide, prosecutors say

Posted at 11:19 AM, Jul 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-19 17:57:36-04

TOWSON, Md. — The three people inside Room 201 at the Comfort Inn on Loch Raven Boulevard had one thing in common.

Prosecutors say they were getting high on cocaine.

But as the hours-long binge stretched into Thursday morning, 26-year-old Deonte James Griffin grew more and more paranoid.

"These three people were in that hotel room together. The victim was actually summoned to the hotel room by another person, because the suspect was acting in a very agitated manner and they wanted the victim to try to help calm him down," said Ofc. Jennifer Peach of the Baltimore County Police Department. "The suspect, at some point, pulled out a gun and pointed it at the victim's head. The other person that was in the hotel room fled the hotel room and then he heard the shots fired."

By the time police arrived at the hotel, the body of 30-year-old Jeremiah Koch laid motionless on the floor and Griffin had disappeared into the night.

RELATED: Suspect arrested in Towson hotel homicide

Investigators also discovered surveillance video of the suspect trying to fire a handgun as he ran out of the building.

He would later be found in a nearby neighborhood, sitting on a stranger's porch in a disoriented state.

While cocaine is rarely mentioned as a drug that could cause such a violent state, police say it depends upon what it may have been cut with.

"Even if he was taking cocaine, he can't be certain that it was straight cocaine. Drugs are laced with other drugs now, especially fentanyl," said Peach. "Whatever else could have been in that drug could have caused effects of any kind. It could be hallucinations. It could be paranoia."

Griffin is being charged with first-degree murder, assault and using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime.

He's currently being held with no bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center.