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Two charged in city man's beating death

November 04, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD and BRIAN SHAPPELL

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

A young man and a juvenile have been charged in connection with the beating death of Curtis Eugene Hill Sr., a 46-year-old man whose body was found Wednesday morning near a North Cannon Avenue pharmacy, Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. Curt Wood said this morning.

Larry W. Shriner, 20, of 13720 Village Mill Drive in Maugansville, and Justin Kyle Marshall, 17, of 12022 Sherwood Drive in Hagerstown, have been charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, attempted robbery and attempted theft, Wood said in a news release.

Marshall was charged as an adult, Wood said.

Both Shriner and Marshall were being held without bond at the Washington County Detention Center this morning, a jail spokeswoman said.

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Hill's body was found in a grassy area by a tree Wednesday morning on North Cannon Avenue near Russo's Rx Pharmacy, which is across the street from the CVS Pharmacy and McDonald's.

Wood said between midnight and 1 a.m., Hill left Camryn's, a bar in the former location of Mulberry Street Tavern, and "got loud" outside a residence in the 200 block of East Franklin Street, where a relative of one of his alleged attackers lived.

After being told to quiet down, an argument ensued between Hill and his alleged attackers. Hill was punched in the face and then "kicked several times," Wood said. He said the altercation occurred "in close proximity" to where Hill's body was found.

Hill sustained the most serious injuries to his head, Wood said.

Wood said police learned that Hill's alleged attackers searched his pockets but didn't find anything. He said Hill had left his wallet at home.

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 Hagerstown's North End.

Franklin said her son 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 Russo's Rx, 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.

Wood said Hill had been lying in that spot since the altercation ended. Hill's body was at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore this morning for an autopsy. Wood said the autopsy will determine how long Hill was lying there before he died.

Hill's death is the third homicide this year in Washington County. The Washington County Sheriff's Department is still searching for Ali Robinson's killer. Robinson, 28, was found shot to death at his Halfway home on the night of Oct. 21.

Jonathan M. Dennis, 19, of Waynesboro, Pa., was fatally shot March 14 in a Washington Gardens Apartments and Townhouses courtyard in Hagerstown's East End. Trials for those charged in that death have been scheduled.

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