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Garrett County sheriff's brother-in-law pleads guilty to manslaughter

July 21, 2008

HAGERSTOWN (AP) -- A brother-in-law of Garrett County Sheriff Gary Berkebile has pleaded guilty to manslaughter for shooting a man in 2006.

Fifty-two-year-old Norris Rush acknowledged during a hearing in Hagerstown that he shot 29-year-old David Lancaster during a night of drinking in Rush's house near the Garrett County town of Accident on Dec. 3, 2006.

In return for the plea, prosecutors dropped a charge of second-degree murder.

An agreed-upon statement of facts contained information that Lancaster was angry about Rush's relationship with Lancaster's former girlfriend.

The defense contends Rush shot Lancaster after Lancaster approached him with a knife. But Garrett County State's Attorney Lisa Welch says there was no immediate threat to Rush when he fired the first of three shots.

No sentencing date has been set.

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