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Lockley gets life for murder

January 20, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

Jerome Bernard Lockley was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday for 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.

"If you take a life, you forfeit your freedom for the rest of your life," Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick Wright told Lockley after listening to an emotional outpouring by the mother of victim Matthew Hovis.

After talking about her son's life in music and church and volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in Waynesboro, Linda Hovis told Lockley that she and her family will never forgive him.

"It's tough to picture your son with a gun to his head ... it won't go away," Linda Hovis said.

Wright also gave Lockley, 19, a 20-year concurrent sentence for use of a handgun in commission of a crime. He told the family he was sorry.

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He 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 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, and Hovis was shot 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.

Dr. Jay Levinson, a clinical psychologist at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital near Baltimore, said Thursday it was no surprise that Lockley would find himself in a situation like he did that night.

"He had no decent parenting, can't read or write, his mother was addicted and allowed him to be abused," Levinson said. "He has had no healthy relationships."

Both Lockley and David Paul Paschall Sr., 24, of 441/2 E. Franklin St., were charged with first-degree murder, felony murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Lockley entered two pleas and the rest of the charges were dropped.

Paschall is awaiting sentencing.

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