Man charged in double murder

September 16, 2005|by CANDICE BOSLEY


A 25-year-old Martinsburg man was charged Thursday with two counts of murder in the killings of a father and son that Berkeley County Sheriff Randy Smith described as two of the most gruesome deaths he has seen in his 19 years in law enforcement.

Wade Warren Painter, of 385 Pond Lane, was arraigned on the charges just after 5 p.m. by Magistrate Harry Snow.

Painter was taken to Eastern Regional Jail without bail.

Painter was led into Berkeley County Magistrate Court wearing sneakers, baggy gray sweat pants and a black T-shirt for the band Insane Clown Posse.

He pulled a camouflage baseball hat low on his head to cover his eyes and, at times, shielded his face with his hands.


He yelled an expletive when his photograph was taken inside the courthouse.

Police believe Raymond White Jr., 64, of 1734 Paynes Ford Road, Martinsburg, and his son, Raymond White IV, 20, of the same address, were killed sometime between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. Wednesday, Smith said.

White Jr. was beaten with an unknown object and might also have been shot once in the head, Smith said. The trauma caused by the beating was so severe police could not determine for certain whether he also was shot, Smith said.

White IV was beaten and was shot once in the head, Smith said.

The house was ransacked and "tremendous signs of a struggle" were present inside, Smith said.

"There was evidence of a vicious encounter," Smith said. "I've encountered a lot of crime scenes, and this is probably in the top 10, as far as the worst I've seen as a police officer."

Smith declined to discuss a motive for the killings, saying police still are collecting and processing evidence and investigating the case.

Police began their investigation when a family friend of the Whites found both men dead inside their home at around 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, police said.

Guns belonging to the younger White were missing, as was a green 1993 Mazda MX-6, police said.

Several people called police and said they saw the car being driven on Paynes Ford Road on Wednesday. On Thursday, the car was found in nearby Pikeside, W.Va., a small unincorporated community near the White's home, according to a two-page criminal complaint filed in Berkeley County Magistrate Court.

Witnesses said the car appeared to be leaking oil, police said.

Police learned that on Wednesday a white man described as "chubby" and 25 to 30 years old used a credit card belonging to one of the Whites to buy motor oil at the Shell gas station on U.S. 11 in Pikeside. Video surveillance cameras captured the purchase, records state.

At about 10:30 a.m. Thursday, John Beitzel called police and said he rented property to Painter and had seen him driving a green Mazda on Wednesday night, records state.

Beitzel told police that he saw several items in the back of the car that he believed might have been stolen, records state.

When police found Painter at his home about an hour later, they noticed scratches and bruises on him, with noticeable injuries on his arms, records state.

Painter agreed to talk to police about the Mazda and said he was picked up by its driver while hitchhiking. Painter said the driver allowed him to use the car in exchange for marijuana, records state.

Painter's girlfriend, with whom he lived, gave police permission to search their home. Inside the home, police found items belonging to the victims, including guns, and items that had blood on them, police allege.

Smith declined to give details about the items that were found.

When asked about the murders, Painter told police that he had purchased marijuana from White IV before, most recently about two weeks ago. He also admitted to using one of the White's credit cards to buy oil, records state.

When police began asking Painter for more information about his relationship with the Whites, he invoked his rights to remain silent and for an attorney, police said.

The bodies of both men were taken to the state medical examiner's office for autopsies, but Smith said Thursday evening that he had not seen the results.

Smith said that White Jr.'s wife - the mother of White IV - lives in Baltimore. They had been separated for about a year, Smith said.

Painter has faced five other criminal charges in Berkeley County since 1998.

In August 2004, he was charged with domestic battery. The charge was dismissed at the request of an assistant prosecutor, according to records in Magistrate Court.

In 1998, Painter was charged with petit larceny and was sentenced to serve 40 days in jail after pleading guilty to the charge. He was charged in 1998 with two counts of burglary and one count of breaking and entering.

One of the burglary charges was dismissed, while Painter pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of petit larceny in connection with the breaking and entering charge, records state. He was sentenced to serve 60 days in jail and spend one year on probation.

The other charge of burglary was forwarded to Circuit Court, but neither the outcome of the case nor the details of the other charges could be determined.

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