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Judge rules attempted murder cases can proceed

December 12, 2002|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN - A Washington County District judge ruled Tuesday that two separate attempted murder cases against a 47-year-old man can proceed.

Wesley Morgan Armstrong, of no fixed address, faces one count each of attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment in each case.

In one case, Armstrong and two other men are accused of beating Charles Edward Rappe, taking off his clothes and setting him on fire. That happened in a wooded gully between the overpasses at Burhans Boulevard and Walnut Street on Nov. 3, Hagerstown Police said.

Armstrong's co-defendants in that case are James Lee Betts, 32, of no fixed address, and David James Kirkpatrick, 51, of the 1100 block of Hamilton Boulevard.

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In the other case, Armstrong is accused of lighting paper on fire and throwing it on Brian Neil Thrift while he slept, setting his clothes on fire. That happened on Sept. 3 at the old Kline Paving Co. property in the 500 block of North Burhans Boulevard, police said.

District Judge Ralph France presided over Armstrong's two preliminary hearings on Tuesday and ruled that there was probable cause for the charges in each, according to District Court records.

The cases will be forwarded to Washington County Circuit Court for prosecution.

Armstrong was being held on $400,000 bond in the Washington County Detention Center Tuesday night. Betts and Kirkpatrick were being held on $60,000 bond each.

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