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Martinsburg police lieutenant charged with battery

August 10, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A lieutenant with the Martinsburg Police Department was placed on administrative leave with pay after he allegedly assaulted another man during an off-duty incident at a church last week, according to police and court records.

John Sherman Jr.'s arraignment Monday morning on one misdemeanor count of battery by Berkeley County Magistrate Sandra L. Miller was announced by Martinsburg Police Chief T.C. "Ted" Anderson in a news release.

Sherman, 45, of 114 Turf Drive, Martinsburg, did not deny striking the victim, Larry "Tike" Murphy, Thursday evening at Martinsburg Church of Christ, 9512 Tuscarora Pike, but never stated that he hit him either, according to a complaint by West Virginia State Police Trooper J.B. Flanigan.

Murphy told police he was sitting in a chair, reading a book while his daughter was at cheerleading practice when Sherman approached him, confirmed his name, then punched him in the face and continued to hit him, according to Flanigan's complaint.

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Upon talking with the victim, Flanigan noticed that the left side of the victim's face was slightly swollen and red. There were also red marks on the victim's back and around his neck where his shirt was torn, according to the officer's complaint.

After Murphy got away from Sherman, he told police that the defendant screamed profanities at him for supposedly sending his wife inappropriate messages via MySpace and Facebook, which are Internet social networking sites.

"The defendant went on to yell 'This isn't over, you better leave because you're a (expletive) dead man,'" Flanigan said in his complaint.

Four statements, including one from Sherman's wife, coincided with the victim's account, Flanigan said in his complaint.

Murphy told police that his wife was good friends with the defendant's wife, but that he had never really spoken with Sherman, according to Flanigan's complaint.

Sherman later told State Police Cpl. J.D. Burkhart during an interview that he found Internet communications between his wife, Angela Sherman, and Murphy, which he felt were inappropriate, according to Flanigan's complaint.

"The defendant did not elaborate to the content of the messages, but advised he did not feel it was right that another man was communicating the way he was with his wife," Flanigan said in his complaint.

"The defendant (said) he confronted the victim and 'did what I did.'"

Sherman's arrest comes about 14 years after he and his now-former wife were both charged with battery after an altercation between them in 1995, according to court records.

Those charges were subsequently dismissed, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.

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