BALTIMORE, Maryland — With no real place to call home, 67-year-old Randolph Cockrell slept on a porch on Oakmont Avenue Tuesday evening.
"I didn't know whether the person was still living or what?" recalled Tanya Teagle, who saw police standing over a body in her yard across the alley the next morning, and later learned it was the homeless man known in the area as Mr. Randolph, "He was the neighborhood nuisance. He would mess with everybody, but you just ignored him and go about your way. Sometimes he joked with you. Sometimes he argued with you, but he was a fun person. He didn't really do too much to bother anyone."
That is, until somehow he appears to have drawn the ire of 19-year-old Dion Dixon.
"The suspect, Mr. Dixon, in some way confronted him,” said Interim Baltimore City Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle, “We don't know what the motive was, but he began assaulting him, chased him and ultimately beat him with a brick."
About a mile from the crime scene, friends of the victim's family say Randolph's alcoholism landed him on the street.
"He would drink too much... get a little belligerent, but most of the time, it was because he was drunk... not that he wanted to harm anybody. He wasn't hurtful,” said Krystal Turner.
In fact, some say they had seen Randolph and Dixon together in recent days, laughing and hanging out together, which makes it all that much more disturbing that the teen could be capable of beating him to death with a brick.
"He walked around with a walker so he could barely walk,” said Teagle, “He's not going to do anything to hurt anybody, because he's incapable to me. It was real sad to hear someone did that to him — somebody that's defenseless you know?"
Dixon is being held at Central Booking on a series of charges including murder and assault.