Man shot to death

October 28, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY


A man was found dead Thursday morning behind an apartment on North Third Street in Martinsburg with an apparent gunshot wound to the head, police said.

Donald Lee "Dee" Redman, 29, who was from Martinsburg but had no fixed address, was shot around 5 a.m. at 517 N. Third St. Police and emergency medical personnel were dispatched to the apartment at 7:57 a.m., according to investigators with the Martinsburg Police Department.

No arrests had been made.

A motive is not known, but Martinsburg Police Department Chief Ted Anderson said that police had received "complaints emanating from this area relevant to some drug problems."


Officers with the Martinsburg Police Department and West Virginia State Police canvassed the area collecting forensic evidence. Interviews with potential witnesses also were being conducted, Anderson said.

Redman was found near the back of 515 N. Third St., which is adjacent to 517 N. Third St. The apartments are part of a triplex that is painted bright yellow.

Police said nobody lives at 515 N. Third St.

By Thursday afternoon, yellow police tape that an area resident said had surrounded the house was gone, but orange paint markings still were visible in the backyard, and a garbage can on the sidewalk in front of the triplex contained several pairs of disposable rubber gloves.

Redman's body will be taken to the state medical examiner's office in Charleston, W.Va., where an autopsy is scheduled to be performed today, police said.

Anderson declined to release details about the shooting, which he said is being actively investigated.

"We're following a number of leads at this point in time," he said.

A resident of the area where the shooting occurred said the neighborhood has never been an affluent one, but that it is filled mostly with good people and families.

He said, however, that problems have started recently and that police have been called countless times to investigate drug activity. People would stand in the street and discuss drug use openly, sometimes comparing the quality of drugs they had purchased, according to the man, who asked that his name not be used for fear of retaliation.

He said the police officers would drive by, but that the drug activity would cease until after the officers left.

Redman is the seventh person to be murdered in Berkeley County this year.

"Does it surprise me? No," Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely said of the number of murders. "This, believe it or not, is a cycle for us."

"It is not uncommon for us to get this many murders," she said, but said it is unusual for them to occur in such quick succession.

Including Redman, four people have been killed in the last six weeks.

Games-Neely said that people need to be vigilant and concerned about the crime rate, but said the average person should not be overly worried about something happening to him or her. Only one of the murders this year - a 14-year-old girl killed earlier this month by a man police allege intended to burglarize her home - was random. The others allegedly involved people who knew one another, she said.

Games-Neely said she believes the highest number of murders committed in the county in a single year is eight.

A criminal past

A check of Berkeley County Magistrate Court records showed that Redman has faced nearly 30 misdemeanor and felony charges since 1995, including aggravated robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Many of the charges were dismissed.

In 1995, a felony charge of forgery was reduced to a misdemeanor count of false pretenses, to which Redman pleaded no contest and was sentenced to serve six months in jail. That same year, he also pleaded guilty to obstructing police and was ordered to serve six months in jail.

A charge of aggravated robbery filed in December 1995 was not pursued because the victim failed to appear in court, records show.

  • In 1996, Redman pleaded guilty to giving false information to police and was sentenced to spend 30 days in jail.

  • In 2000, charges of petit larceny, false information, conspiracy to commit counterfeiting and wanton endangerment were dismissed.

  • In 2001, more charges were dismissed, including petit larceny, battery, assault and brandishing a firearm. He pleaded guilty that year to destruction of property and was sentenced to serve 30 days in jail.

  • In 2001, Redman pleaded guilty to a charge of assault and was sentenced to serve 14 days in jail, while two counts of resisting arrest were dismissed.

  • In 2003, he pleaded guilty to a reduced misdemeanor count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to serve one year in jail. He also was sentenced to serve a concurrent one-year jail term for pleading guilty to a charge of obstructing police, while a charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle was dismissed.

  • In November 2004, charges of domestic battery and grand larceny were dismissed.

The outcome of some charges - unlawful wounding, filed in 1996; and another count of unlawful wounding, filed in 2001 - could not be determined.

In February, Redman pleaded guilty to domestic battery and was ordered to pay a $50 fine.

Most recently, in May, he pleaded guilty to driving on a suspended license and was ordered to pay a $100 fine, while a charge of obstructing police was dismissed.

A charge of receiving/transferring stolen property also filed in May was dismissed when neither the witness nor investigating officer appeared in court.

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