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Suspect says park assaults were revenge

August 15, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

One of two suspects accused of beating up homeless men at City Park told police his friend was upset because he had been approached by gay men, charging documents state.

Travis Michael Harvey, 20, of 441 Summit Ave., and Brandon Jerome Harris, 20, of 335 S. Potomac St., allegedly struck two sleeping homeless men with metal fence posts in an incident early Friday. Charging documents state both victims were treated for head injuries at Washington County Hospital; one suffered a fractured skull.

At a bond review hearing Monday, District Judge Ralph H. France II set bond for both suspects at $500,000.

Harvey and Harris are each charged with two counts of armed robbery, two counts of theft of property valued at less than $500, two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and two counts of reckless endangerment.

At 3:06 a.m. Friday, Hagerstown Police Department officers responded to the park and talked to a homeless man who was bleeding from the head. Police later met a second victim at a Burhans Boulevard gas station, according to charging documents.

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According to charging documents, Harvey and Harris were spotted in the 400 block of Summit Avenue just minutes after the assaults. Witnesses told police they believed both men were involved in the attacks, and one of the victims confirmed he believed Harris took part in the beating, the charging document states.

According to charging documents, Harvey told police that Harris and he went to City Park to beat up homeless men because Harris was upset that gay men had approached him as he tried to sleep in the park the previous night. In his interview with police after the assaults, Harvey allegedly told police he and Harris decided to "jump" two men they saw sleeping in a pavilion, and they pulled two poles out of the ground, beat the men and stole their wallets.

Harvey allegedly told police he dropped one wallet in the alley, but kept a second wallet to replace his, which had been stolen, the charging documents state.

Harris told police he was with Harvey at his house, and he denied taking part in the beatings, charging documents state. Police placed into evidence his sneakers and pants, which were splattered with blood, charging documents state.

The suspects were trying to get revenge for a previous incident, but they attacked the wrong men, Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Viki Pauler said during Harris' bond review hearing.

"They struck individuals with metal poles, metal sticks. The people that they were striking with these poles were not responsible for the uncomfortable event the day before," Pauler said.

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