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Autopsy: 93-year-old died of blunt force trauma to chest, head

January 15, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A 93-year-old Martinsburg man died from blunt force trauma to the chest and head, according to final autopsy reports released Tuesday by West Virginia State Police.

The autopsy on Delbert Rodgers was performed by Dr. Jack Frost in Morgantown, W.Va., said West Virginia State Police Sgt. Deke Walker.

As a result of the chest injuries, Rodgers' sternum was broken, as were several of his ribs, Walker said as he reviewed Frost's report.

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On Rodgers' face, he had bruising around his eyes and lacerations on his lips, Walker said.

No evidence existed showing brain swelling or a skull fracture, Walker said.

A caretaker found Rodgers dead inside his Airport Road home late Jan. 5. Money and other valuables were taken from Rodgers' home and his body was tied up, Walker said.

No arrests have been made.

Police, who are investigating the case as a homicide, continue to talk to other police agencies where similar crimes have occurred, including a case in Washington County.

In that case, Saul Joseph Stanley, also known as Jeff Stanley, and Liger Grady, both of Martinsburg, W.Va., were charged in the death of William Leonard Messersmith. The men reportedly beat Messersmith and then stole a bag containing $40,000.

In August 2001, Grady pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. His sentence was cut to 10 years in exchange for his testimony in the Stanley trial.

Stanley was found guilty of murder and sentenced in March 2002 to serve life in prison with the possibility of parole.

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