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Two U.Md. students slain off-campus this year

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Local,Maryland,Crime,Alex Pappas
Two University of Maryland students have been slain off-campus this year as school officials say a 24-year-old man found dead inside his car in Prince George's County was taking graduate classes there.

David Bayard of Silver Spring was killed Sunday morning in the small Maryland town of Colmar Manor, town Police Chief Brian P. Gibson said. Bayard's slaying was the first homicide in Colmar Manor since 2006.

University spokesman Neil Tickner said Bayard was a University of Maryland graduate student working on a master's degree in business administration; Bayard finished his undergraduate degree in College Park in 2009.

In January, Justin DeSha-Overcash, a University of Maryland undergraduate, was shot dead inside his College Park home during what police have described as a botched drug-related robbery. Neither of the incidents occurred on campus.

Sgt. Ken Leonard with the campus police department said while there have been student deaths in the eight years he's worked at the university, he doesn't recall any of those instances being murder cases.

"These are the only two I can remember since I've been here," Leonard said. "It's a shock that we've had two this year."

Bayard had spent Saturday night partying at a club in D.C., his girlfriend told the university's newspaper, the Diamondback, but never returned home.

Gibson said Colmar Manor police on Sunday found Bayard's car parked near a McDonald's off Bladensburg Road, after being alerted that one of its doors was open. Officers found Bayard with "trauma to the upper body," though the chief declined to elaborate while the investigation continues. Bayard was pronounced dead on the scene.

Gibson said Prince George's County authorities are assisting Colmar Manor police in canvassing neighborhoods and passing out fliers asking for information about Bayard's death. The chief declined to comment on whether police think drugs or alcohol were involved.

There have been 33 criminal slayings this year in Prince George's County, a police department spokesman said. At a Crime Stoppers gathering this week, County Executive Rushern Baker acknowledged the county's homicide problem and said there's no "silver bullet" that can stop it, though he said he's relying on churches and nonprofits to encourage residents to provide police with tips.

No one has been arrested for Bayard's slaying.

In the DeSha-Overcash case, two men, Stephan Weaver, 22, of Bowie and Deandre Ricardo Williams, 23, of D.C., have been charged with first-degree murder. Weaver's preliminary hearing is set for Friday in Upper Marlboro.

apappas@washingtonexaminer.com

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