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First-degree murder charge dropped in beating death of homeless man in Hagerstown

State's attorney finds probable cause to support second-degree murder charge against David Allen Miller

July 11, 2013|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • David Allen Miller
Hagerstown Police Department

A charge of first-degree murder lodged against a Hagerstown man accused in the beating death of a homeless man last month was dismissed this week following his preliminary hearing in Washington County District Court, according to court records.

After the presentation of the evidence at the hearing on Wednesday, visiting District Judge R. Noel Spence ruled there was not probable cause to support the first-degree murder charge against David Allen Miller, Deputy State’s Attorney Joseph Michael said Thursday.

However, Spence did find probable cause to support charges of second-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, as well as for charges of first- and second-degree assault, court records said.

The remaining charges will be transferred to Washington County Circuit Court.

First-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, requires the prosecution to prove that the killing was deliberate, premeditated and willful.

Miller, 38, of 115 Elm St. is accused of the fatal beating of 47-year-old Robert Harvey Dunavant who was found dead in a wooded area off West Antietam Street on Saturday, June 15.

At the time of Miller’s arrest, Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. John Lehman said the two men were acquaintances and went to a homeless camp near the CSX railroad tracks, in some woods off the 300 block of West Antietam Street, to “drink for the afternoon.”

Miller and Dunavant got into an argument that escalated into a fight, police said at the time. Other people were at the homeless camp, but no one else was involved in the fight, police said.

A witness flagged down a Hagerstown police officer in the area of Antietam Street. Police found Dunavant and called Community Rescue Service, which pronounced him dead at the scene.

Police estimated the fight occurred around noon on Saturday.

Miller was found about eight hours after the alleged fight in front of his Elm Street home, where he was taken into custody.

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