The Fates of Area ‘Death Houses’

Cleveland, Ohio A 10-foot chain link fence surrounds the home of Ariel Castro in Cleveland, the house where three women were held captive and raped over a decade.

The house was demolished as part of a deal that spared Castro a possible death sentence. He was sentenced last week to life in prison plus 1,000 years.

(AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Cleveland, Ohio An FBI agent watches as the house in Cleveland, where three women were held captive and raped for more than a decade, is demolished. Authorities want to make sure the rubble isn't sold online as "murderabilia," though no one died there.

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Betts - Silver Spring, Md. Three people have been killed in this Silver Spring, Md., home.

The first homicide was in 2002 when a 9-year-old girl and her father were shot during an attempted robbery.

In 2010, Brian Betts, a teacher at Shaw Middle School at Garnet-Patterson who also happened to be gay, was killed in what some believed to be a hate crime.

A couple now lives in the home on Columbia Pike and changed the address since moving into the property. They declined further comment.

Most states do not mandate that a seller disclose nonstructural defects in a home, including homicide and suicide.

"Basically, it's not a material fact that a homicide, suicide, death or felony occurred on the property," says Colette Massengale, staff attorney at the Maryland Association of Realtors.

But if a home's history is of particular interest to a buyer, make sure to ask the real estate agent specific questions about what has happened on a property, Massengale says.

"Realtors cannot lie."

(WTOP/Alicia Lozano)

(Editor's Note: This caption has been modified to correct the year of Brian Betts' murder.)
Koroma - Chantilly, Va. Francis Koroma, 40, was found suffering from trauma to his upper body in his Chantilly home May 27, 2011. He died early the next morning at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Koroma's son, Gbassay Koroma, 18, was arrested and charged. Officials believe the two fought over a domestic issue.

The younger Koroma pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, The Washington Post reports.

The quiet community, located on Woodmere Drive, betrays the grisly murder that took place here.

(WTOP/Alicia Lozano)
Koroma - Chantilly, Va. The community boasts basketball courts, a fitness center, nearby schools and a shopping center within walking distance.

There are 228 apartments in Westfield Village with one-bedroom apartments starting at $1,146, says leasing consultant Ana Melendez.

She says only one unit is available in the housing complex, but would not say if it is the apartment where Koroma died.

"I didn't even know that happened here," she says.

In Virginia, a seller must give permission to the realtor to disclose whether there has been a death on the property.

"They do not have to disclose murder or suicide unless there is some sort of physical trauma house like if the walls are covered in blood," says Stacey Ricks, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Association of Realtors. "If it's cleaned up and there is no adverse affect on the property, you do not disclose."

(WTOP/Alicia Lozano)
Drath - Northwest D.C. Viola Drath, a 91-year-old D.C. journalist and socialite, was killed in her Georgetown home Aug. 12, 2011.

Her younger, eccentric husband, Albrecht Gero Muth, has been charged with second-degree murder.

The brownstone, located in the 3200 block of Q Street NW, is currently under contract for $995,000, shy of the $1.5 million asking price, Washingtonian reports.

(WTOP/Alicia Lozano)
Drath - Northwest D.C. When asked if the house's past had anything to do with the lower price, an assistant to realtor Nancy Taylor Bubes says "it didn't have anything to do with it."

Settlement is expected by the end of August.

(WTOP/Alicia Lozano)
Sanders - Alexandria, Va. Laquetta Sanders, 22, was murdered in this apartment building in the 6400 block of Edsall Road in Alexandria, Va., in 2006.

Her aunt, 56-year-old Martha Majors, was arrested and charged with Sanders' murder. Majors was found dead in her jail cell the next day.

Neighbors say they remember the murder, and have seen residents come and go from the property since 2006.

"I am positive they didn't know what happened [in there]," says Ibrahim Bah, who has lived in the apartment complex since 2003.

Attempts to reach the rental office were not successful.

(WTOP/Alicia Lozano)
Wone - Northwest D.C. The sensational death of Robert Wone in 2006 captivated the region.

With scandalous details involving kinky sex and polyamorous relationships, the investigation and subsequent trial reached national status.

Wone had been tied up and stabbed multiple times. The three housemates that owned the home where Wone was killed, located on the 1500 block of Swann Street in Northwest D.C., were found not guilty in 2010.

(WTOP/Alicia Lozano)
Wone - Northwest D.C. In 2011, Forest W. Kettler, whose father owns a development and apartment management company by the same name, purchased the infamous house for $1.49 million, according to public records.

"It didn't really factor in," Kettler told the Washington Business Journal in reference to the house's dark history.

Kettler moved into the home in August 2011, the Washington Business Journal reports.

(WTOP/Alicia Lozano)
Jacks - Southeast D.C. Across town in Southeast D.C., this three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom rowhouse is the site of a an especially heinous murder.

The former tenant, Banita Jacks, was found guilty in the murders of her four young daughters. She kept their decomposing bodies in her home for months.

(WTOP File)
Jacks - Southeast D.C. The Congress Heights home, located in the 4200 block of 6th Street SE, went up for sale in 2008. After sitting on the market for several months, the price was reduced by 40 percent to $90,900 in 2009.

Public records show that the house was last purchased in 2010 for $132,000.

(WTOP File)

(Editor's note: Photos of the Jacks home are not current.)

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