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Montgomery police have 'potential suspect' in death of AU professor

Montgomery County police say they found signs of a struggle at the Bethesda home of American University professor Sue Marcum, who was found dead Monday morning.

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By Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 27, 2010; 9:29 PM

The American University professor killed in her home this week died of asphyxia and blunt force trauma, Montgomery County police said Wednesday as they announced that they had a "potential suspect" in the case.

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The person in question, Deandrew Hamlin, 18, was spotted by D.C. police driving Sue Ann Marcum's Jeep about 13 hours after she was found dead inside her Glen Echo area home on Monday, authorities said.

After police chased the Jeep and apprehended Hamlin, he gave an inconsistent explanation of how he came to be driving the Jeep, according to a police affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court.

Hamlin first said he received the Jeep from a friend, according to the affidavit. Then he said he got the keys from someone else.

"We're looking at him as a potential suspect in Professor Marcum's murder," said Cpl. Dan Friz, a Montgomery police spokesman.

The inconsistent story helped detectives obtain a warrant to search an apartment in the District where Hamlin lives, according to the court records. They did so Tuesday evening. But they did not seize any items, according to the inventory section of a search warrant filed in court.

The search warrant also makes clear that Hamlin is no stranger to police in the District, having had repeated "contact" with officers since 2007. No details were provided. But in at least some cases, Hamlin was described as a complainant.

Records filed in court this week describe the crime scene Monday at Marcum's Massachusetts Avenue home. A "straight-edged weapon" was used to cut a screen in a rear window, according to the affidavit. Items were taken from the house, which is consistent with detectives' theory that Marcum was killed by a burglar.

Also filed in court this week was a District police account of how officers' stopped Hamlin in the Jeep.Officers recognized the SUV based on an alert from Montgomery police. When an officer activated his lights and siren, Hamlin accelerated, leading several officers on a pursuit for about 10 minutes, according to a police document. Hamlin eventually lost control of the SUV, struck a pole and rolled over, according to the document. Hamlin got out and ran for a block before being caught, police said.

Hamlin remained in custody in the District on Wednesday night, held on a D.C. charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle and a fugitive warrant from Maryland.

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