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Man found beaten to death

November 04, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD and BRIAN SHAPPELL

pepperb@herald-mail.comshappell@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - An 18-year-old man was being questioned Wednesday evening in connection with the beating death of a man whose body was found that morning in a puddle of blood near a North Cannon Avenue pharmacy, a Hagerstown Police Department officer said.

Sgt. Curtis Wood said the body of Curtis Hill, of Hagerstown, was found Wednesday morning on North Cannon Avenue near Russo's Rx Pharmacy, which is across the street from the CVS Pharmacy and McDonald's.

"He was beaten with fists and kicked several times," Wood said.

Wood said Hill sustained head trauma in the attack.

The incident occurred "in close proximity" to where Hill's body was found, Wood said.

Wood said investigators were consulting Wednesday evening with Assistant State's Attorney Viki Pauler, the county's violent crimes prosecutor, in connection with the man who was being questioned.

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Wood could not be reached for additional comment on the investigation late Wednesday.

Mary Franklin, Hill's mother, said she was in shock when she was told the news early Wednesday afternoon.

"He wouldn't hurt a flea, that's why I can't believe what they did to him," said Franklin, who lived with Hill in the city's North End.

Franklin said her son, 46, was a popular and social man who "everyone in town knew." She said Hill lived in Hagerstown since he was 12 years old.

Franklin said her son, a carpenter, was looking forward to the future and feeling lucky because he had recently found a job building houses.

"He had been out of work, doing odd jobs for friends and stuff, and finally, this job came along for him," she said.

Franklin said she last saw her son at about 8 p.m. Tuesday, when Hill told her of his plans to go out for drinks with a friend.

On Wednesday morning, city resident Jamie Feigley discovered the body when she went outside to start her husband's car to take her children to school.

"I came out my back door at about (6:55 a.m.), and he was right there, laying there, in plain view," Feigley said.

"My daughter was coming out the back door ... I made her go back inside," Feigley said. "I didn't want her or my son to see it."

Feigley said she has heard about people who have been in similar situations, but she never thought she would experience something like it herself.

"It's not every day you walk out your back door and see a guy laying there, and that he's dead," she said. "I noticed cops riding and driving everywhere today. I'm just not used to all this."

Sgt. Fred Wolford said police units were at the scene before 7 a.m. Wednesday.

About an hour later, Dave Russo, the owner of the nearby pharmacy, said he arrived at work to find the lawn to the north of his business cordoned off.

At about 9 a.m., Detective Christopher Kayser was loading brown paper grocery-sized bags into the trunk of a police cruiser outside the pharmacy

A dull maroon van and a dark purple Dodge Neon were inside the tape, which extended from Russo's building across the alley, alongside the alley, which runs to North Mulberry Street, to a chain-link fence where the tape circled back around.

A Western Maryland Regional Crime Lab van was outside the cordoned area, but Wolford said forensic scientists were at another location.

Wolford said the man was found at the base of a tree near a rock jutting from the grass, which was patchy and covered with dead leaves and debris.

"He was kind of laying there in a puddle of blood to the right of the rock," Wolford said.

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