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Inwood man wanted in Washington County on rape charges still held in West Virginia

December 31, 2010
  • Richard "Ricky" Ernest Brightwell
Richard "Ricky" Ernest Brightwell

A man being held in West Virginia probably won’t be extradited on eight counts of rape and other charges in Washington County until he appears in court in West Virginia early next week, Washington County Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore said.

Richard “Ricky” Ernest Brightwell, 32, of 25 Pilgrim Hill St., Inwood, W.Va., was being held without bond Friday in Eastern Regional Jail in Berkeley County on a fugitive from justice warrant from Washington County.

An arrest warrant issued in late November in Washington County charged Brightwell with 27 counts, including: four counts of first-degree rape, four counts of second-degree rape, four counts of second-degree assault, four counts of third-degree sexual offense, two counts of kidnapping a child younger than 16, one count of first-degree assault, three counts of false imprisonment, two counts of a handgun in a vehicle, two counts of handgun on his person and one count of use of a firearm in commission of felony, according to court records.

Authorities said the 27 counts against Brightwell came after a joint investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Hagerstown Police Department. That inquiry involved a series of reported rapes that occurred in Hagerstown and Washington County in 2006, authorities said.

The victim was a 15-year-old girl, authorities said.
In Berkeley County, Brightwell is accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl on Sept. 2 in Inwood, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.

The warrant charging Brightwell with second-degree sexual assault in that case indicates his address at that time was 208 N. Potomac St. in Hagerstown, records show. He also had a Frederick, Md., address at 10122 Bethel Road.

Brightwell was booked at Eastern Regional Jail on Dec. 27. Since then, he posted a $50,000 bond on the sexual assault charge from West Virginia, but was being held on a fugitive-from-justice warrant from Washington County, a jail spokeswoman said.

Mullendore said the Washington County Sheriff’s Office typically would pick up a fugitive almost immediately in a case such as this, but the closing of government offices over the holidays has delayed the process.

— By Dan Dearth

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