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Man's death treated as homicide

The body of a 47-year-old man found in the West End

The body of a 47-year-old man found in the West End

November 01, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The body of a man found Friday morning near a pool of blood in the backyard of a house at 210 James St. in Hagerstown's West End has been identified as 47-year-old Billy Lee Black, Hagerstown Police Sgt. Paul J. Kifer said.

Black's death is being treated as a homicide, Kifer said. No suspects had been identified as of Friday evening.

"It appears he died of a stab wound," Kifer said.

Kifer would not give Black's exact address, but said he lived on Church Street.

Black's body was taken to Baltimore for an autopsy, Kifer said. The autopsy "probably won't be performed at least until (Saturday)," he said, and the results won't be released for a few weeks.

"We believe it will be ruled a homicide," Kifer said.

As police canvassed the scene, Black's body was lying behind the left rear tire of the pickup. He was wearing a white T-shirt and blood-spattered jeans.

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Eddie Kline of 517 Salem Ave. discovered the body at about 6:45 a.m.

Kline said he was driving down an alley near his house on the way to work when he saw a puddle of blood in front of his vehicle. A few feet away, he saw legs sticking out from underneath the bed a pickup truck that was parked in the backyard of the house, Kline said.

"I called my wife first," Kline said. "I thought maybe it was a Halloween prank."

Kline said his wife, Nichole, arrived with a flashlight and, after they realized that it was no prank, called police.

"We seen legs sticking out," Nichole Kline said. "We walked up with a flashlight and then we seen him."

The Klines discovered the man later identified as Black lying face down, Eddie Kline said. As they approached the body with the police, Black's cell phone was ringing.

Eddie Kline said the neighborhood is normally quiet.

"(This) is not something I would expect to see coming on my way to work in the morning," he said.

Black's death is the second homicide in the city in the last eight days.

Larry Boyce Jr., 36, of 746 Summit Ave., rear apartment, Hagerstown, was shot and killed near his home Oct. 24.

Authorities still were searching for Hagerstown resident Kevin Valentino Franklin in connection with that shooting.

Franklin, 38, is charged in an arrest warrant with first-degree murder, second-degree murder and other charges.

Kifer said Friday that between the two investigations, his officers are stretched thin, but "my guys are very good at what they do."

He said a crime as serious as the one on James Street was "uncommon" for the neighborhood.

"This is not what you would consider a transient type of neighborhood," Kifer said. "... To have an incident like this is very uncommon."

One woman, who said she had lived in the neighborhood for decades, said she had never seen anything as serious as Friday's homicide.

"It is a generational-type of neighborhood," Kifer said. "... Some of the people we have talked to have lived here 50 years. ... These neighbors have known each other for a long time."

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