Police: York homicide suspect found in victim's car with knife, bleach
When police captured a Baltimore man accused of fatally stabbing a woman inside her York City apartment, he still had a jug of bleach that he was seen taking out of the victim's home — as well as a pocket knife that will be forensically examined, according to testimony.
Anthony Uvon Starks, 52, is now facing trial in York County Court after District Judge Ronald Haskell Jr. determined enough evidence exists for Starks to stand trial on his homicide and robbery charges.
Starks, who police said goes by the nickname "Banks," remains in York County Prison without bail. His preliminary hearing was held Monday, Nov. 26, at the York County Judicial Center.
York City Police Detective Travis Sowers was the only witness to testify against Starks, who appeared relaxed throughout the proceeding. He leaned back in his chair with his head tilted to the side, a look of indifference on his face as he listened to Sowers.
Sowers testified that police found 65-year-old Edna Wilkins Pinder dead in her Kings Mill Road apartment on Oct. 25. One of Pinder's daughters called 911 after finding her mother, police have said.
An autopsy performed on Pinder's body two days later determined she was stabbed 14 times, "including once in the liver and once in the heart," the detective said.
Caught on video: Sowers said he reviewed five days' worth of surveillance video that included Pinder's apartment door, from Oct. 21 to Oct. 25.
"The only two people who ever entered and exited were Starks and the victim," Sowers testified, adding Pinder was last seen going into her apartment at 12:11 a.m. Oct. 22.
Police have said Pinder and Starks had an on-again, off-again relationship.
Starks is seen on video making several trips in and out of Pinder's home between 1:27 a.m. and 5:21 a.m. Oct. 22, carrying out several filled trash bags and Pinder's television and cellphone, according to the detective.
"And he was also carrying a bottle of bleach when he left the room," Sowers said.
Starks loaded all those items into Pinder's car, drove away and never returned, according to Sowers.
Bleach, knife seized: Asked on cross-examination how he knew the jug contained bleach, Sowers explained that when Starks was captured in Baltimore on Oct. 31, he was in Pinder's car — as was the jug he carried from the victim's home. The jug was seized as evidence and contained bleach, the detective said.
"There was a pocket knife found between the driver's seat ... and the center console," Sowers said, adding the knife will be forensically tested to see if it was the weapon used to kill Pinder.
Sowers said he drove to Baltimore after Starks was captured to interview the man, but he wasn't able to do so.
"(He) got caught smoking crack cocaine," said Sowers, adding he was concerned Starks wasn't sober enough to interview.
Statements made to police by criminal defendants who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol are at risk of being deemed inadmissible as evidence at trial.
Public defender Ron Jackson Jr., who represents Stark, declined comment after the hearing.
Death penalty? Senior deputy prosecutor John Hamme told The York Dispatch that a decision hasn't yet been made as to whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Starks.
That decision is expected to be made by the time Starks has his formal court arraignment, Hamme confirmed.
Haskell scheduled that proceeding for Dec. 28.
Starks was on the run for more than a week after Pinder's death, according to police.
Members of the U.S. Marshals Service's fugitive task force tracked Starks to East 24th Street in Baltimore and arrested him Oct. 31, police have said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.