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Lockley pleads guilty to murder in 1997 slaying

September 09, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

Jerome Bernard Lockley pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony murder and a handgun violation in the 1997 shooting death of a Waynesboro, Pa., man during a robbery behind the Adult Book Store in Hagerstown.

Lockley, 19, was jailed without bond by Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III who ordered a pre-sentence investigation.

He could face life plus 20 years in prison in the death of Matthew Roy Hovis.

Lockley was 18 when he admitted accompanying another man through the streets of Hagerstown on Aug. 25, 1997, in search of someone to rob.

Just after midnight, they found Hovis cleaning out his car behind the bookstore in the first block of East Washington Street.

Lockley told police they walked past the victim, who was standing by his car, police reports said. They approached him as he walked back toward the building.

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Lockley told police he pulled out a gun, put it to Hovis' head and told him to freeze, according to Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Mark Wolfe. Lockley told police he then cocked the gun.

Hovis raised his hands and was told it was a robbery and that he was to hand over his money. The robbery took $8, some papers and a watch, Wolfe said.

Lockley told police he tried to uncock the gun and when he did, it went off, striking Hovis in the head, Wolfe said.

Hovis, 25, was found lying in the parking lot at 12:23 a.m. after several residents called Hagerstown City Police saying they'd heard shots.

Hovis, who died a few hours later, had been shot once in the head.

With only vague descriptions of two fleeing men - one black, one white - to go on, police were back at the scene of the crime searching for evidence through the early morning hours.

It was then that a woman came up to Hovis' white Geo and tried to get into it, Wolfe said.

Police approached her and she told them a story which was later found to be false, Wolfe said.

She eventually told police that she was Lockley's girlfriend and that he told her he'd killed someone that night, Wolfe said.

That information led authorities to a co-defendant who is still awaiting trial.

Both Lockley and David Paul Paschall Sr., 24, of 44 1/2 E. Franklin St., were charged with first-degree murder, felony murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Hovis' death was one of six homicides in Washington County in 1997.

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