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Police chief, sheriff agree: No link apparent in recent spate of slayings

November 17, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

More than three-fourths of the way through 2004, Washington County authorities had as many homicides to investigate as they did a year ago - one.

But since mid-October, four people have been killed within the county's borders, and a woman remained hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday night following a Monday shooting north of Williamsport.

Monday's homicide at a Kemps Mill Road home was the fifth in the county in 2004, four more than all of last year.

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"The crime lab is stretched pretty thin right now," Hagerstown Police Department Chief Arthur Smith said. He said the city police department's crime lab also handles work for the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

Smith said there is "no logical reason" for the spike in homicides over the last four weeks. Smith said he believes the public should not be alarmed, because it appears there is no link among the incidents, and none appeared to be random.

Washington County Sheriff Charles Mades agreed and said that, to some extent, people can avoid such tragedies by avoiding relations with known dangerous people.

"From what we've seen this year, the majority of them seem to be domestic or drug-related," he said. "It's not like someone's walking across the mall parking lot and was shot during a robbery."

· On March 14, Jonathan M. Dennis, 19, of Waynesboro, Pa., was fatally shot outside of an apartment in the Washington Gardens housing development in Hagerstown. Tyshawn Jones and Azaniah Blankumsee both face felony murder charges in that shooting.

· On Oct. 21, Ali Aubae Robinson, 28, of Halfway, was found fatally shot inside his Timothy Drive home near Valley Mall in Halfway. The Washington County Sheriff's Department has filed no charges in that shooting.

· On Nov. 3, Curtis Eugene Hill Sr., 46, of Hagerstown, was beaten to death on North Cannon Avenue, near Russo's Rx Pharmacy. The Hagerstown Police Department charged Larry W. Shriner and Justin Kyle Marshall with first- and second-degree murder.

· On Nov. 9, Madyson King, 3, died from injuries she sustained in an Oct. 25 beating, the Hagerstown Police Department said. Her father, Scott E. Patterson, has been charged with second-degree murder.

· On Monday, William Keith Grant, 46, of Falling Waters, W.Va., was fatally shot at the Kemps Mill Road home of Cathy Louise Myers, 44. Myers was wounded in the shooting and remained in critical condition Tuesday night at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Myers' ex-boyfriend, Steven Linn Barr, was charged with first- and second-degree murder and attempted murder in the shooting.

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