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Larry Jefferson, Matt Jefferson, Louis Robert Hill, Lester Watson

This gruesome and hideous story begins in the April 20, 1968 Baltimore Sun and then more information was given in the April 22, 1968 edition of the same paper.

The neighborhood on Stokes Drive had been plagued in recent weeks with news of missing children.  Several children had returned home with with reports that they had been accosted by a man who made sexual advances to them.  On April 19th, 1968 Baltimore City police found the beaten and mutilated bodies of four young boys in a section of Leakin Park that was covered with thick underbrush and woods.  The bodies were located after 2 policemen arrested Reginald Vernon Oates of the 1100 block of Wicklow Road when he broke into a run as they approached him in the woods off of Stokes Drive.  Once caught the police found in his possession two brown paper bags, a small blue suitcase and a gray lunchbox.   Once bag contained the genitals of three young boys.   The lunchbox contained a pair of blue sock, a hacksaw blade, a table knife and a piece of metal about 8 inches long which and one end turned under to form a claw. 

Oates was an unemployed janitor who claimed he spent much of his time reading the bible.    Mr. Oates was charged after a line-up in Police headquarters.   He was arraigned on 16 charges.

Police listed the murder victims as Larry Jefferson, 8, and his brother, Matt, 5, who lived in the 2800 block of Raynor Avenue; Louis Robert Hill, 10, of the 3200 block of Phelps Lane, and Lester Watson, 10, of the 2800 block of Westwood avenue.   Police sad the Hill boy was murdered on a Wednesday prior and the 3 other boys were murdered Thursday.  Police sad the other assaults took place April 10, April 17, and April 18.  Bodies of the three boys were found about half a mile north of the 3800 block of Stokes Drive.  The fourth body was found about a city block away on a foot trail.  No attempt to bury the bodies had been made, police said.  Nor had any attempt been made to cover the bodies where they lay on the ground.

Police said three of the bodies had been sexually mutilated.  The boys throat had been cut  One boy had been decapitated and his hands had been cut off.  Police also charge Mr. Oates with attempting to rape and perform perverted practices on two girls, 11 and 12.  he was also charged with attempting to murder and molesting  four boys, three of them 7 and one 10.  According to the Sun all of the victims and young Oates were "Negroes" (the Sun's words not mine).    Three of the assault charges against Mr. Oates involved the beating of three boys on the Tuesday prior. Police said the boys were enticed into the park to take park in a game of cowboys and Indians.

Charles E. Moylan, Jr., Baltimore State's attorney at the time said his office would take charge of the Oates case as quickly as possible to allow a defense lawyer to make the proper motions for a psychiatric exam.

In the November 23, 1968 issue of the Baltimore Sun we are told that it has been decided that Reginald Vernon Oates shall be committed to a mental institution until he is fit to stand trials. He was committed to the Department of Mental Hygiene by Judge Albert L. Sklar after a review by 8 physicians at Clifton Perkins State hospital deemed him unfit to stand trial.  A check of the Maryland Inmate Locator does not list a Reginald Vernon Oates.  However, Reginald Vernon Oates is mentioned quite frequently in the Maryland Judiciary Case Search.  His address is listed as the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center at 8450 Dorsey Run Road in Jessup, MD.  Every few years he petitions the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for his release with the latest petition in July of 2009.   In August of 2010 he was denied, yet again.

This blogger's editorial comment

18 year old teens often don't come up with the idea to sexually mutilate young children on their own.   I wonder if anyone asked some hard questions of the people who were living with Mr. Oates.

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