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Two Hagerstown men charged in murder-for-hire plot

September 18, 2000

Two Hagerstown men charged in murder-for-hire plot



By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer


Two Hagerstown men were being held without bond Monday in connection with a murder-for-hire plot that authorities said was thwarted by a girlfriend of one of the men who wore a wire so police could tape their conversation.

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Donald Lee Edwards Sr., 43, of 7 Atlantic Drive, and Arthur "Gene" Eugene Diehl Sr., 46, of the same address, were both charged Friday with conspiracy to commit murder, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

Edwards also was charged with solicitation to commit murder. Police allege he solicited Diehl to kill his ex-girlfriend, Mary Castle.

Castle, who lives in the Clear Spring area, was not harmed, police said.

Police made the arrests Friday after investigating a tip from Edwards' girlfriend, Sandra Wood, who also is Diehl's niece, according to charging documents in Washington County District Court.

Wood alleged to Sheriff's Department officers last Thursday that Edwards had paid Diehl $3,000 since April 2000 to kill Castle, according to charging documents.

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Neither Castle nor Wood could be reached for comment Monday.

On Friday afternoon, Wood wore a body wire so police could tape a conversation she had with Edwards as they sat in her vehicle at the Sharrett I-70 Auto Mall where Edwards worked as an auto mechanic, court records state.

During their conversation, Edwards told Wood he had given Diehl $600 last April to kill Castle and that Diehl had wanted more money for expenses, court records allege.

Edwards told Wood they had called off the hit and wasn't sure if he would get the money back, according to allegations in court records.

Court records allege that at the end of their conversation, Edwards told Wood he had paid Diehl to kill Castle, but wasn't sure if or when that would be done.

Sgt. Mark Faith would not say how Castle was to be killed.

He said more than one firearm was found in the house Diehl and Edwards share.

Charging documents allege that Edwards had bought Diehl two handguns.

The first gun, a 9 mm handgun, did not work when they test-fired it, so Edwards bought a second gun, according to charging documents.

During a bond hearing before District Judge Ralph France Monday afternoon, Edwards and Diehl indicated they didn't know why they were being held.

"The only thing I know, this is a situation that got totally blown out of a situation," said Edwards, speaking with France via a video hookup from the Washington County Detention Center.

Diehl told France, "There's nothing I can say. I have no idea what's going on. I don't know why I have the charges I have."

Edwards' defense attorney, George Knight, said the state's witness "fabricated" the story.

France ruled that Edwards and Diehl would continue to be held without bond.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Duane Gigeous said neither Edwards or Diehl had a prior criminal record, but that Wood and Castle feared for their lives if the men were released.

Their preliminary hearings are set for Nov. 15.

Edwards was arrested at 5 p.m. Friday at Sharrett's Auto Place on Dual Highway, Faith said.

Diehl was arrested at 7 p.m. Friday in front of Woodpoint Bar and Grill on Salem Avenue, Faith said.

Hagerstown City Police and the Washington County Narcotics Task Force assisted in the arrests, Faith said. The investigating deputy is Kenneth Barnhart.

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