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Pa. man succumbs to wounds

August 29, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

and BRENDAN KIRBY

Staff Writers

A Greencastle, Pa., man who was found severely beaten along the bank of the Conococheague Creek Monday afternoon died early Thursday morning, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Darrius Allen Fetterhoff, 58, of Grant Street, died at 1:05 a.m., said Washington County Hospital spokeswoman Beth Kirkpatrick.

County Deputy Medical Examiner Howard Weeks said Fetterhoff died from multiple head trauma and complications. He had been clinging to life since the attack on Aug. 20.

Charges against James Thomas, who was arrested in connection with the beating, were not changed on Thursday, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

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Thomas, 30, of 441/2 E. Franklin St. in Hagerstown, is charged with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault and reckless endangerment, police said. Bond was denied for him on Wednesday.

The victim's brother, Wilton Fetterhoff, expressed anger Thursday night over newspaper articles detailing statements given to investigators.

The statements, contained in Washington County District Court records, include claims by a Hagerstown woman that Fetterhoff solicited sex from her and statements from Thomas claiming he sold drugs to him.

"I'm a little upset about it. I think things have been turned a little bit upside down," Wilton Fetterhoff said.

Fetterhoff questioned the validity of some of the statements.

"The District Court records can lie," he said.

But Fetterhoff declined to elaborate, saying the family did not want to comment.

Fetterhoff's wife reported her husband missing Aug. 20 to the Greencastle Police Department. Earlier in the day, according to investigators, Fetterhoff had dropped his wife off at work and then drove to Hagerstown.

According to statements given to police by Clara Miller, who has not been charged, Fetterhoff picked her up that morning and had sex with her. Afterward, she picked up Thomas, bought crack cocaine and Miller and Thomas smoked the drug, according to court records.

Thomas told investigators that he sold Fetterhoff $40 worth of crack, court records said.

According to statements to police by Miller, Thomas told her to drive to the Broadfording Road area after Fetterhoff refused to offer more cash for drugs. Along Hopps Landing, Thomas allegedly forced Fetterhoff out of the car and struck him in the head with a rock, according to court documents.

Miller told authorities that Fetterhoff fell down a 90-foot embankment, according to court papers.

Fetterhoff remained alongside the creek for five days until he was discovered unconscious by a fisherman looking for bait.

Staff Writer Julie E. Greene also contributed to this story.

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