2 arrested after home invasion

August 25, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Two men have been arrested after allegedly sexually assaulting a 20-year-old Berkeley County woman and stabbing and beating a 21-year-old man residing with her in a home invasion-style burglary on Aug. 10, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.

Steven James Taylor, 20, of 346 Roberts Drive, Apt. 3B, near Martinsburg, W.Va., and Darryl Lavar Ford, 30, of 910 Central Ave. in Martinsburg, each were arraigned Friday by Magistrate Joan V. Bragg on charges of burglary, abduction, malicious wounding and sexual assault.

Both men were in Eastern Regional Jail Friday night on $200,000 cash-only bonds set by Bragg, according to court and jail records.

Police said the men entered the couple's home off Rudolph Court and tied the couple's hands with duct tape. They covered their mouth and eyes with it, too, according to arrest warrants issued Thursday.


Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Sgt. W.A. Johnson said in an affidavit that the man was forced onto the floor, beaten with large objects, stomped on and stabbed in the shoulder blade.

"(His) injuries were so severe that the suspect's sneaker emblem print, Nike Air, could be seen on his back and photographed," Johnson said.

Tables, stereo equipment and other large items were smashed over the man's back and head, Johnson said.

As the beating continued, one of the suspects leaned close to the woman, who was being sexually assaulted, and whispered "please do as they say because they will kill you," Johnson said.

The men left the home with an Xbox 360, a video game system, multiple digital video disc movies, two mobile phones, all of the cash in the man's wallet, the woman's purse and cash, several hats and a Chihuahua, the family pet, according to Johnson's affidavit.

After the men left the home, the woman freed herself of the tape, and went to a neighbor's house to call 911 because her phone was taken. The call was made at 3:22 a.m., Johnson said.

On Aug. 11, the Berkeley County Crime Solvers hot line was used by an individual to tell police that one of the men "admitted to committing the crime." Another person told police Wednesday that the two suspects were seen together the night of the crime and had a very small dog with them. They also had a nearly depleted roll of duct tape, two cell phones, a wad of cash, fitted hats, a men's watch, "a bunch of change" and other items that matched what was reported stolen, Johnson said. They also were seen with gloves and ski masks in their hands that night, Johnson said.

After receiving a description from the witness, Johnson said he went to Lowe's, one of the men's employers, where he was able to verify the description that was provided to investigators.

Both men have applied for court-appointed attorneys

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