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Hagerstown man slain

Martinsburg man charged

January 02, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown man was killed early New Year's morning in Martinsburg and a convicted felon has been charged with the homicide and a related kidnapping, police said.

Charles W. Wingfield, 32, of Hagerstown, was found lying next to his pickup in Capitol Heights, a Martinsburg apartment complex, about 4 a.m., said Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Kenneth Lemaster.

Several witnesses reported hearing a gunshot and provided police with a description of a suspect they saw near the scene, Lemaster said.

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Richard Lamont Pannell Jr., also known as "Green Eyes," 24, of Martinsburg, has been charged with murder and one count of kidnapping.

He is being held at Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg. No bond has been set.

A press release issued by the Sheriff's Department said Pannell is a convicted felon, but Lemaster would not release information on Pannell's criminal record.

Lemaster said Pannell is accused of shooting Wingfield once in the left neck area. He said the assailant left the immediate scene of the crime but remained in the housing complex made up of Capitol Heights and Boarman Place apartments.

Lemaster said Pannell walked about a block from the crime scene to 119 Boarman Place where he is accused of taking a female hostage at gunpoint and leading her back to the shooting scene. The woman was used to pose as Pannell's girlfriend while he snooped around the crime scene as police investigated, Lemaster said.

He said there was a larger-than-usual crowd of people outside Wednesday morning.

"He returned to the scene, which was either brazen or unique," Lemaster said.

He said the same gun - a large caliber revolver - believed to have been used in the slaying was used to hold the woman hostage.

The woman was unable to get the investigating officers' attention while at the scene, Lemaster said. She later broke free and described Pannell to police. It is not known whether she knew Pannell, police said.

Police said a man believed to have been Pannell returned to the apartment where the woman had been taken hostage and brandished a weapon in front of other women. When police arrived at around 9:30 a.m., the man could not be found, police said.

Later Pannell was spotted by police who interviewed and then arrested him.

Police found clothing the assailant allegedly wore on South Street in Martinsburg. Lemaster said Wingfield's driver's license was found inside Pannell's pants.

Police do not know the motive of the shooting, but are continuing the investigation.

Wingfield was transported to City Hospital in Martinsburg and then flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., where he was pronounced dead at 10:25 a.m.

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