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Letter to judge- 'I've changed'

August 16, 2000

Letter to judge- 'I've changed'



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


Just a year ago, one of four men charged Tuesday in the beating death of a West Virginia man was serving time at the Washington County Detention Center and vowed to turn his life around.

James Wellington Tosten, 22, was charged Tuesday with first-degree and second-degree murder in the death of Tony Lee Carbaugh, 18, of Spencer, W.Va. and 314 Buena Vista St., Hagerstown.

Carbaugh was beaten in a dispute over drugs and left to die from head injuries near Kemp's Mill Road in Williamsport Saturday, according to court documents.

In Feb. 1998, Tosten, of 60 E. Washington St., Hagerstown, pleaded guilty to a third-degree burglary charge. Washington County Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley gave him an 18-month suspended sentence and two years probation.

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He was jailed Feb. 10, 1999, for violating probation and was released in July 2000. In August 1999, he wrote to Beachley, asking him for a sentence modification or work release.

In his letter, filed in Washington County Circuit Court, Tosten said he had become responsible since being incarcerated.

"Sir, I know I messed up in the past but I've changed. I would like to have the opportunity to be able to prove to you and the society that I'm ready and willing to be a law-abiding citizen," he wrote to Beachley.

Tosten said he would find employment and make paying off his remaining restitution a priority.

"I also have a wonderful newborn son that I need to prove myself to," Tosten wrote. He said he had been taking GED classes in jail and intended to take the test to receive his diploma.

"I have already changed my attitude and outlook on life," he wrote.

In an Aug. 18, 1999, letter to Tosten, Beachley left a decision about work release or sentence modification to Washington County Detention Center Warden Van Evans, who later denied the inmate's request.

Court documents allege Tosten went to the West End housing development Saturday to search for Carbaugh. He was accompanied by Harlan Coleburn Hoover, 21, no fixed address, Douglas Lee Hevener Jr., 20, of 1 Fishing Creek Lane, Boonsboro and Aaron H. Chertoff, 19, of 650 N. Prospect St., Apt. 2 Hagerstown, court documents allege.

Carbaugh had complained about being short-changed following a drug sale, charging documents alleged.

Chertoff, Hoover and Hevener also were charged with first-degree and second-degree murder, kidnapping, misdemeanor theft and second-degree assault.

Tosten also was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He has a Sept. 7 court date on a possession of marijuana charge from a July 1 arrest.

All four were being held without bond Wednesday evening at the Washington County Detention Center. Washington County District Judge Noel Spence scheduled all four men for preliminary hearings on Sept. 13 at 8:30 a.m.

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