W.Va. men indicted in slaying

February 22, 2001

W.Va. men indicted in slaying

By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer

A Washington County grand jury last week indicted two West Virginia men in the Dec. 5, 2000, death of a Clear Spring man.

Jeff Stanley, 22, also known as Saul Joseph Stanley, and Liger Albert Grady, 18, were being held without bond in the Washington County Detention Center.

The grand jury met Feb. 15 and returned indictments charging both Stanley and Grady with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, robbery, false imprisonment, felony theft and first-degree assault.

According to court records, the victim, William Leonard Messersmith, 76, of 12109 National Pike, spoke with a woman friend on the telephone at around 5 p.m. on Dec. 5, and mentioned there were people at his home who needed to use the phone.


The girlfriend heard someone try to hang up the phone and when she said hello, she heard a young man's voice, court records said.

Messersmith got back on the phone and told his friend to call back later. When she called back 30 minutes later, there was no answer, court records said.

Two days later, the woman drove to the house and found Messersmith dead on the floor in a pool of blood.

Police said an autopsy revealed Messersmith died of blunt force trauma to the head and back. He had a broken neck and there was evidence of asphyxiation and that he had been bound, court records said.

The only phone in the home had been torn from the wall. A fingerprint taken from the phone was found to match Grady, court records alleged.

Two days after Messersmith's body was found, police received an anonymous phone call from someone who mentioned the street names of "Pig" and "Beetle" as the men responsible for Messersmith's death, according to records.

Another caller told police on Dec. 10 about two men the caller alleged had been bragging about killing an old man in Clear Spring and taking a large amount of money from him.

On Dec. 13, authorities were told the two men had a party in a West Virginia hotel room, at which there was bragging of "tying up an old man, hitting him over the head and taking his money," court records alleged.

Messersmith's friend told police that he had complained of problems with people approaching him to do paving and roof coating, paying them in cash, and then finding the work was substandard, court records said.

Police learned that Messersmith had called the Washington County Sheriff's Department on Nov. 1, 2000, to complain about someone who had done an asphalt job on the roof of his mobile home.

A license tag number supplied by one of Messersmith's neighbors provided additional information that led to Grady.

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