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Charges dismissed against man in home invasion-style robbery

December 05, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Charges against a man accused of taking part in a violent December 2009 home invasion-style robbery have been dismissed at the request of the Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney's office.

Charges of burglary, first-degree robbery and conspiracy pending in Berkeley County Circuit Court against Darren A. Newman, 22, were dropped Thursday because the state lacked identification evidence, Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Timothy D. Helman said Monday.

Helman said the charges contained in the October 2010 indictment of Newman were dismissed without prejudice, meaning the state reserves the right to try to re-indict him in the future should additional evidence surface.

Jeremy L. Hawkins, a co-defendant in the case, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in January 2011 after he pleaded no contest to one count of first-degree robbery, according to court records.

Helman said the victim clearly identified Hawkins in the crime, but could not be sure of the second man's identity and the state did not have any eyewitnesses of the crime.

The victim told police that on Dec. 15, 2009, he was tied up with a black cord and his eyes were taped over in a nighttime burglary at his home just south of Martinsburg, according to court records.

The robbery victim's forehead was bleeding and the right side of his face was swollen when police responded to his Shady Lane home to investigate, according to court records.

The victim told police he was punched in the right side of his face three times by the attacker, whose face was covered with a mask and his head was covered with a ski hat, according to court records.

Items taken in the robbery included a 27-inch flat-screen television, keyboard, drum machine and other equipment, according to the indictment and court records.

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