Rouzerville man to serve two years for killing Hagerstown man in fight

July 09, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

For throwing a punch that led to another man's death last year, Darrow Lee Shupp will serve two years in jail, a judge decided Tuesday.

Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III sentenced Shupp, 30, of Rouzerville, Pa., to 10 years, then suspended eight years of the term.

Shupp punched Blake Crampton in the face during a fight in front of Crampton's home on Liberty Street in Hagerstown in November 2007. Crampton was knocked out and his head hit the pavement.

Authorities have said a friend took Crampton inside, where he regained consciousness and appeared OK, but he died about a day later. Crampton was 22 years old.


Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Viki Pauler asked that Shupp serve five years in prison, but later said the sentence was appropriate.

In a statement that Shupp's attorney, Carl Creeden, read aloud in court, Shupp wrote that he enjoyed Crampton's friendship and added, "Please forgive me - if not today, perhaps one day in the future."

Shupp then faced Crampton's family and cried as he apologized. "I'm truly sorry for your loss," he said.

"You're forgiven," Crampton's mother, Cheryl, replied. "You're forgiven. But you need to do your time now."

Last month, Shupp pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, with the understanding he could face up to 10 years in prison.

According to a statement of facts read aloud in court then, Crampton was part of a group who went to local places on the night of Nov. 17, 2007, as part of a bachelor party.

Shupp appeared later at Crampton's home, but was told to leave, which he did. Shupp returned, and got in an altercation with Crampton.

Wright said Tuesday it was clear Shupp didn't mean to kill Crampton by punching him, but insisted Shupp wasn't blameless.

"That is not an accident," Wright said. "That was an assault. That is (an) intent to harm."

Jamie Jackson, one of Crampton's sisters, said in court that Shupp made bad choices in punching Crampton and not calling for medical help when Crampton was injured.

Wright said he was seeking a proper balance by ordering Shupp to be locked up for two years instead of five, as Pauler recommended.

During a two-year term at the Washington County Detention Center, Shupp will have the opportunity to receive treatment for alcohol abuse and other problems, Wright said.

Had he sentenced Shupp to a longer term in a state prison, he still could have been released after about two years through parole, Wright said.

Shupp will be on probation for five years after he serves his time. The first 18 months of probation will be supervised.

Speaking for the family outside the courthouse, Chelby Taylor, another of Crampton's sisters, said it was good to hear Shupp's voice after knowing only his name.

"I think it's hard not to forgive him," she said.

Taylor said the family wanted a longer sentence, but was relieved the case is over, eliminating what would have been a painful trial for them.

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