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Small town shaken by fatal stabbing

June 06, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - In this small roadside town a few miles west of Martinsburg, homicides are almost unheard of.

So when word spread in town Wednesday about the stabbing of a woman inside the Hedgesville Post Office, residents expressed shock and fear and said they would change how they will handle their daily activities.

"People have gotten killed here, but it's usually in wrecks. Nothing like this. I'm glad I don't have my post office box anymore," Mollie Vincent said as she rang up customers at the Hedgesville Texaco Wednesday afternoon.

The gas station is east of the post office, a relatively new facility that was built along W.Va. 9. The post office is in a cutout section of a hillside along the highway and there are no other buildings or houses around it.

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Police said Cathy Crissy, 43, of Hedgesville, was found Tuesday night in a pool of blood on the floor in the front lobby of the post office suffering from multiple stab wounds.

Crissy was taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va., where she died, officials said.

"Everybody that has been coming in here since 4 a.m. has been wanting to know what happened," said Vincent.

Town residents Larry and Angie Shanholtz were skittish over the fact the stabbing occurred in a community building they frequently visit. The couple said they often go at night to the post office, which has a lobby that's open around the clock.

Some town residents get their mail at the post office while others have roadside delivery.

The mailboxes inside the post office are lined along an S-shaped hallway inside. It would be easy to trap someone in the lobby area because of the hallway design, said Larry Shanholtz.

There is a door at the entrance and one in the back that postal patrons can use, he said.

"It's kind of scary to know someone was stabbed just down the road from you," said Angie Shanholtz.

Although some residents said they have not had any trouble at the post office, Inez Payne said there have been some people in the post office who scare her.

She called them "awful-looking creatures" and said she could never tell if they were there to get mail or for some other purpose.

"It's even scary in the daytime. I usually get mine and get out. It's a shame you can't go to the post office. You're not even safe in your own home," said Payne, who lives along Potato Hill Street in Hedgesville.

Across the street, Floyd and Gertie Kenney reflected on the days when they used to travel out of town and never lock their doors. Not any more, they said. They could not remember the last time there was a homicide in town.

"It's scary, I'll tell you," said Gertie Kenney.

"I certainly won't be going down there by myself anymore. I'll make sure it's in the daytime," said Connie Nelson, who lives on West Main Street.

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