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Murder charges dropped against local man

February 21, 2001

Murder charges dropped against local man



By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


Attempted murder charges were dropped Tuesday afternoon in Washington County Circuit Court after the victim said he was wrong when he identified Erik Villaman as the man who attacked him.

Ralph Curtis Myers, who survived a stabbing that claimed the life of another man outside a North End pool hall and arcade a year ago, had previously identified Villaman as the man who stabbed him.

The change in Myers' statement came as preparations were underway for Villaman's trial.

Tuesday's actions had no bearing on murder charges against Erik Villaman's brother, Arismende Villaman, Washington County State's Attorney Kenneth Long said Tuesday.

The two Hagerstown brothers were indicted last spring in a Feb. 19, 2000, stabbing that killed a Williamsport man and injured Myers.

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Arismende Villaman, now 19, continues to face charges of second-degree murder in the death of Gordon Lynn Moats, who died of his wounds from the 10 p.m. stabbing in a parking lot adjacent to Fun World and Long Meadow Bowl, Hagerstown City Police said. No trial date has been set.

Myers told prosecutors recently that Erik Villaman wasn't the man who stabbed him. Without that identification, there was insufficient evidence to proceed, Long said.

Moats, 22, of 15661 Clear Spring Road, was taken to Washington County Hospital where he died at about 6 a.m. on the day after the stabbing.

On March 14, a grand jury indicted Arismende Villaman on charges of manslaughter and first- and second-degree assault, police said.

Both men were released from the Washington County Detention Center after posting bonds of $175,000, according to court records.

Erik Villaman, now 20, had been indicted on charges of attempted second-degree murder, two counts of second-degree assault, and reckless endangerment in the stabbing of Myers.

Myers, 23, of Hagerstown, spent approximately one week in Washington County Hospital, according to court records.

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