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Teen indicted on murder charge

May 19, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Berkeley County grand jury has indicted a 17-year-old Martinsburg boy on murder charges in the slaying of a man outside Berkeley Garden Apartments last April, according to court documents.

Brandon R. Hodges will stand trial in the April 7 shooting of Kevin Smith, 22, of Martinsburg. Smith died the next day from two gunshot wounds to the head.

Hodges also was indicted Wednesday on charges of wanton endangerment with a firearm and unlawfully carrying a weapon.

The wanton endangerment charge was filed after police learned a bystander was in the proximity of the gun when it was fired, Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely said.

The bystander, Edwin Brown, was not injured, she said.

Hodges will be tried as an adult for Smith's death and could face a maximum of life in prison without parole if convicted on a first-degree murder charge, Games-Neely said.

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Investigators with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department believe the shooting was sparked by a verbal altercation, Games-Neely said.

Police have been unable to locate the .22-caliber revolver used in the shooting, she said.

Metal detector sweeps of the area where the gun may have been thrown failed to locate it. Games-Neely said police believe someone might have walked off with the weapon.

"Anyone who finds the gun should call police immediately," she said.

Hodges was being held in Eastern Regional Juvenile Detention Center and no date has been set for the case in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

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