Shooting suspect to face grand jury

August 06, 1997

Shooting suspect to face grand jury


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A Wisconsin man accused of shooting three Maryland men last month will have his case referred to a Jefferson County grand jury following a preliminary hearing Wednesday, although his attorney said he acted in self-defense.

"You're surrounded by 15 angry, drunken people threatening to throw you in the river...That looks like self-defense to me," Public Defender Deborah Lawson said in an interview following Patrick J. Carr's hearing before Magistrate Katherine Santucci.

Lawson added during the interview that Carr has not been charged in connection with allegations made by witnesses that he sexually assaulted a 5-year-old boy at the Harpers Ferry Flea Market before the shooting.


The Minoquan, Wisc., man is in jail on $750,000 bond on three counts of malicious wounding in the shootings of Danny Lerch, 34, and James Hoare, 36, both of Knoxville, Md., and Barry Deeds Sr., 51, of Point of Rocks. Md. Lerch and Hoare are still in Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va.

After the hearing Lawson said Carr, 53, who was briefly hospitalized for head injuries from the melee, is an antique dealer who often goes to flea markets.

At 9:21 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, West Virginia State Police received a call about a suspicious person at the flea market, a former drive-in theater on U.S. 340, according to Trooper Timothy Taucher. While en route to the scene, Taucher heard shots had been fired.

Taucher described the scene when he arrived as "Chaos. Disorder. People were down and ambulances were en route." In addition to the shooting victims, he saw Carr with an eye swollen shut, a cut and bruises.

"He felt he was set up...He shot these men in self-defense," Taucher said in describing statements Carr reportedly made to him.

Taucher testified Carr said he would be killed in prison because "They always kill child molesters in prison."

The trooper said a .38-caliber revolver was found behind a trailer owned by Robert Lee Baker. Baker told him he took the gun from Carr.

According to Taucher, the state police crime lab has not completed forensic tests on the gun and bullets and a gunpowder residue test from Carr.

Test results related to the alleged sexual assault and a records check to establish the gun's ownership are also incomplete, Taucher said.

"They picked up some weapon...I don't know whose weapon it is," Lawson said in the interview after the hearing. She asked Taucher during the hearing if he noticed that the windshield of Carr's 1969 Ford Bronco was broken and his keys were broken off in the ignition. He said he had not noticed either the windshield or the keys.

Taucher read a statement by Danny Lerch in which he said his children told him a man tried to lure them to a graveyard. Lerch and two other men confronted Carr at his vehicle but "He seemed like a nice guy. That's why we were going to let him go."

Several others attending a cookout at the market gathered around the Bronco. Barry Deeds testified that James Hoare tried to get in the Bronco, but was restrained.

Deeds admitted telling Carr, "If you hurt that kid, they'll be pulling you out of the Potomac River." His wife admitted in testimony to making a similar statement.

Deeds said he had been drinking, but couldn't testify about anyone else.

"I heard a police siren go off and immediately Mr. Carr opened up and shot my husband," Ruth Deeds testified. She said Carr's keys were taken so he couldn't drive away and two vehicles were blocking his, but no one touched Carr before the shooting.

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