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Couple found shot to death

November 30, 1999|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

The Martinsburg Police Department is investigating the deaths of a Martinsburg couple, who were found Saturday afternoon in an upstairs bedroom of their West King Street home with gunshot wounds to their heads.

The couple were identified as Jeffrey Michael Webber, 43, and Kimberly Anne Webber, 40, of 704 W. King St., according to a press release by Martinsburg Police Department Detective Sgt. G.B. Swartwood.

"It appeared to investigating officers at the scene that at least one of (them) had suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head," Swartwood said.

Martinsburg police and fire department personnel arrived at the residence about 1:30 p.m. after receiving a report of possible gunshot victims, Swartwood said.

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The Webbers were found on a bed in an upstairs bedroom, and Swartwood said investigators, assisted by a county coroner and a member of the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, removed possible evidence from the home.

An autopsy also has been requested, Swartwood said.

Exactly when the couple might have been shot or the possible circumstances of their deaths were not released by police, but neighbors said Saturday that they heard what might have been gunfire on Friday between 7:30 and 8 p.m. They saw police carry two weapons from the home, and watched officers collect evidence below an apparent bullet hole on the west side of the house.

"I'm still shocked and distressed about it," Barbara Teasley of 706 W. King St. said nearly six hours after police arrived at the scene.

"It's the kind of thing that doesn't happen every day ? thank God," Teasley said while holding a plate of brownies she was taking to a neighbor's house for a social gathering Saturday night.

Teasley and other neighbors said the couple had a teenage boy who was learning to drive and a younger daughter.

When they first moved in about two years ago, Teasley said their vehicle, an old police car, had Pennsylvania plates.

"(They) said they were doing police work," Teasley said.

She didn't believe them.

Nearby Porter Avenue resident Gail Webber said she heard a "loud boom" Friday night. Webber didn't know the couple's last name until being interviewed, but didn't believe she was related to the couple.

Neighbors said the Webbers stayed to themselves, even the children, but often saw the couple riding a Harley-Davidson together.

According to police reports and court records, the Martinsburg couple's deaths bring the total number of people in the Tri-State area killed in incidents involving firearms since July 23 to 13.

n On July 23, Jackson Agustin Rodriguez, 22, of The Bronx, N.Y., was found dead of gunshot wounds at Washington Gardens Apartments on Security Road in Hagerstown. Another 22-year-old man shot there was hospitalized.

n On July 28, Cathy Burkett, 39, was shot dead at her home on Garnes Road near Mercersburg, Pa., and William Zimmerman, 50, was shot and killed at Longview Campground, where he was residing.

The badly decomposed body of Curtis E. Burkett, 41, who was charged in the two deaths, was found Aug. 24 by a farmer working in a Montgomery Township field, about one half-mile from Longview Campground. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

n On July 29, Hopeton Clarke, 25, of Martinsburg, died after he was shot outside Miss Behaven, a bar in Bunker Hill, W.Va. Two others were wounded outside the bar.

n On July 31, Trisiviah Rodriguez, 20, of Hagerstown, died after being shot multiple times in the first block of East Franklin Street in Hagerstown.

n On Aug. 4, Thomas Johnston, 50, shot his wife, Karen Johnston, 48, then turned the gun on himself, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

n On Sept. 2, Shepherd University students Logan P. Pennington, 26, and Benjamin M. Pennington, 24, were shot dead by their father, Douglas Pennington, 49, in a parking lot on the university's West Campus. Douglas Pennington then died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

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