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Man's death investigated as homicide

March 06, 2011|By DAVE MCMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The death of a Hispanic male who was found on a set of steps leading to an apartment along U.S. 11 in the Pikeside area Sunday morning is being investigated as a homicide, according to a spokesman for the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department.

The victim’s name was not being released Sunday night because family members of the man had not been found, Gary Harmison said.

Deputies responded to the scene at about 6 a.m. Sunday after a neighbor noticed the victim lying outside the residence at Sunset Apartments south of Martinsburg, Harmison said.

Sunset Apartments is across from the ROCS station in the Pikeside area, Harmison said.

The victim had severe head trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Harmison and a sheriff’s department news release.

Berkeley County Sheriff Kenny Lemaster said Sunday night that investigators have speculated on what caused the victim’s head injuries but he declined to divulge details.

An autopsy will be conducted in Morgantown, W.Va., to determine his cause of death, Harmison said.

Harmison said there were some witnesses at the scene where the man was found.

While the witnesses did not see anything, they “heard some things,” Harmison said.

The witnesses have been cooperative, said Harmison, who believes the victim was visiting someone at the apartment.

Harmison said investigators were preparing to search a residence in Winchester, Va., Sunday night as part of the investigation.

Harmison said his department has not had any calls at the apartment and added it was unclear what occurred at the apartment before the victim was found.

Sunset Apartments consists of about 14 to 16 apartments divided among several buildings, Harmison said.

Lemaster said he thinks his department will be able to release more details Monday.

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