February 09, 2005

A feeling of peace as trial approaches

Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 9, 2005
Here in a barber chair in a Baltimore shop near Charles Village called Conscious Heads, with one of his closest friends hovering above him with a pair of clippers, Dontee Stokes says he feels peace.

Other customers greet Stokes with enthusiastic handshakes and inquiries about mutual friends. Stokes, who gained notoriety in May 2002 when he shot the priest who he alleges molested him as a teenager, says he has found a kind of sanctuary in barber shops like this.

"It's healing just being around people who care," Stokes says of the barbers here. A barber himself, Stokes talks about opening his own shop, perhaps a franchise of this one, and using it as a platform for community service.

Stokes, 29, is preparing to testify as the star witness in the sexual child abuse trial of former priest Rev. Maurice Blackwell, 58, which is expected to begin this week. Once again, Stokes says, Baltimore's close-knit community of self-taught barbers is standing with him.

Posted by kshaw at February 9, 2005 07:20 AM