Mark Creasy was enjoying life to the fullest. He wasn't working, but the Alexandria resident hadn't worked for years. Financially secure, he spent his time reading, playing the piano and riding his bicycle near the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
"Every day he rode, if the weather permitted," said Creasy's sister, Susan Brooks. "He'd do 35-50 miles a day. He felt free. He talked about all that parkland with all those bike trails like it was sacred.''
Which makes it all the more upsetting to Brooks that her brother was killed over Memorial Day weekend in one of the places he loved most. Andre D. Suggs, the man charged with strangling Creasy along a popular bike and jogging path in Alexandria, appeared yesterday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria and was ordered detained until trial.
The case against Suggs will be presented to a federal grand jury for possible indictment. Suggs, 35, of Alexandria, is charged with killing Creasy, 48, on federal land on Daingerfield Island. Suggs later ran naked across the George Washington Memorial Parkway and bit a police officer, police said.
"It's not right," Brooks, of Smyrna, Ga., said in a recent interview. "A person should be able to not bother anyone, and not be bothered."
Ivan Davis, an attorney for Suggs, declined to comment after yesterday's hearing.
Creasy's killing May 28 was the second recent homicide on Daingerfield Island, a venue for biking, jogging, sailing, fishing and soccer. U.S. Park Police have increased patrols on the island, a 109-acre strip of land that extends into the Potomac River between Reagan National Airport and Old Town Alexandria. Police have said the area is safe.
Police said in court documents that Suggs killed Creasy during a robbery, then threatened a witness and briefly chased him while riding Creasy's bike.
Less than an hour later, Alexandria police arrested a naked Suggs about a half-mile away when he crossed the parkway at Bashford Lane. A park police affidavit said Suggs bit one of the arresting officers and screamed, "AIDS! AIDS! I got AIDS!"
Just before his arrest, investigators said, Suggs had assaulted a second male bicyclist on the Mount Vernon trail. He is accused of assaulting another bicyclist, a woman who was hit in the head while riding on the Capital Crescent Trail near Georgetown seven days earlier.
Creasy's body was found near a National Park Service maintenance site between the parkway and the river. Police said he was shirtless, wearing shorts, a bicycle helmet and bicycle shoes.
Creasy, who grew up in Buena Vista, Va., near Roanoke, was a quiet and polite man born to deaf parents, his sister said. After graduating from the University of Virginia, he worked in San Francisco doing transcriptions for a law firm "because he liked working with documents,'' she said.
After their parents died, Creasy inherited some money, made some wise investments and never worked again. Instead, he indulged a wide variety of interests that included reading, piano and the arts. The last charge on his credit card, his sister said, was for a performance he planned to attend at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
About the time he moved to Alexandria in 2000, Creasy began rigorously lifting weights, swimming and riding his bike. He broke his hip in a bike accident several years ago, and his sister said the rehabilitation was difficult.
In recent weeks, Creasy's spirits were up, according to a eulogy read at his funeral by David Powers of Alexandria, a close friend.
"All he wanted was a quiet bedroom where he could sleep all he wanted, no health problems and no financial worries . . . and warm weather,'' Powers said in the eulogy. "Recently, he had achieved all three . . . he was truly happy.''