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W.Va. man charged in beating, robbery

July 16, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A Ranson, W.Va., man has been charged in the 2002 attack of a man who was beaten by three men and left for dead in the trunk of his car, West Virginia State Police said.

Richard Warren Pence, 26, of 124 E. Third Ave., was arraigned on charges of robbery, kidnapping, malicious assault, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit malicious assault, according to Jefferson County Magistrate Court records.

Pence was being held in the Eastern Regional Jail Monday night on $200,000 bond, jail officials said.

The beating occurred after Jose Vasquez-Garcia traveled to Jefferson County on July 27, 2002, to fish in a local river, Trooper James C. Long said.

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While fishing, Vasquez-Garcia was approached by a man who was looking for someone to give him a ride home, Long said.

Vasquez-Garcia agreed to give the man a ride home and the man invited Vazquez-Garcia to join him for some drinking at his house, Long said.

Vasquez-Garcia was at the man's house and when he decided to leave, he was beaten by three men, Long said.

Vasquez-Garcia, who suffered head injuries from the attack, was thrown into the trunk of his red 1991 Honda car, according to Long.

It was not clear whether one of the men or all three got into the car and drove Vasquez-Garcia to an unknown location.

After the car was stopped, the trunk was opened and Vasquez-Garcia "played possum" in an attempt to trick the men into thinking he was dead, Long said.

The men slapped Vasquez-Garcia in the face in an attempt to revive him. The suspects panicked, shut the trunk lid on Vasquez-Garcia, and fled the area, Long said.

Vasquez-Garcia was able to open the trunk of his car and because the keys were left in the ignition, he drove away, according to Long.

Vasquez-Garcia drove around for some time looking for help and ended up in Leesburg, Va., where he was treated at a hospital.

Originally, details of the attack, including the river Vasquez-Garcia was fishing, were sketchy because Vasquez-Garcia did not speak English well, police said.

During the investigation, Long and Vasquez-Garcia found the apartment where the attack occurred, Long said in a criminal complaint filed in magistrate court.

The apartment was located in Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., Long said.

Long obtained statements from people who witnessed the incident, the complaint said.

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