Bum on “The Block” Named “Big Ed” Fights Over Bottle of Natty Boh, Stabbed to Death With It (1975)

Man stabbed to death during fight on The Block over bottle of beer

(The Baltimore Sun, 6/5/1975)

A man police could identify only as “Big Ed” was stabbed to death with a broken beer bottle yesterday afternoon during a fight over the beer on a sidewalk just off The Block, police reported.

The victim was known to sleep in a vacant third floor apartment above the rear of the Gayety Bar in the 100 block of Custom House avenue. Witnesses to the fight called police, and they found the body on the fire escape to that apartment about 3:50 P.M.

He had been stabbed once in the neck and once in the chest, police said.

Police charged Harold R. Stanton, 41, of the 1500 block of East Pratt street, with the murder.

Police said Big Ed, who was partially bald and middle-aged, had frequented The Block for several years.

The fight took place on the sidewalk of Custom House Avenue, just a few feet from The Block. Police said the brawl was over a bottle of National Beer. During the struggle, the beer bottle was broken at the top and used as a weapon by Bid Ed’s opponent.

After being stabbed, Big Ed staggered back several yards to the fire escape, apparently trying to reach his quarters on the third floor. He climbed five steps before collapsing on the rail, police said.

The murdered man’s body hung from the lower level steps of the fire escape for almost 30 minutes. Crowds of passersby, including businessmen and lawyers from nearby offices, were in a crowd of onlookers, who stood and talked in hushed tones.

Men and women stopped for a few seconds, looked at the body, clothed in a dirty grey shirt that once had been brown, faded pants and old shoes and drooping socks and turned away, some looking sickened by the sight.

One woman, who would not identify herself, turned to her male companion and said, “Oh! You know, they all live up there. That’s how they all end up.”

A derelict, wearing green and white striped shirt, grey pants and sneakers with a 3-inch gash and bruise underneath his right eye, approached the stairway, took several long squints at the dead man and shouted, “What you doing there?” before he was pulled away by police.

Many people seemed unable to determine whether the body was part of the circus atmosphere of The Block or the real thing.

A group of men stood in front of a bar across Baltimore street, all with arms crossed over their chests. One told a reporter they were “eagerly” waiting for the medical examiners truck to cart the body away.

Just a few feet away recorded rock music blared from loudspeakers, and barkers continued to hawk the glories of the strippers as business went on as usual in the peep shows, bars and strip joints.

Police eventually covered the corpse with a blanket before it was carried off the fire escape.

This entry was posted in "The Block", 1970s, Beer, Burlesque, Crime, Murder, Natty Boh, Nightlife, Strip Clubs and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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