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Martinsburg man charged with first-degree murder in wife's death

August 22, 2013
  • Rickie L. Greenfield Jr.
West Virginia Regional Jail & Correctional Facility Authority

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Martinsburg man was being held without bond Thursday at Eastern Regional Jail after being charged in the slaying of his wife late Wednesday, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court and jail records. 

Rickie L. Greenfield Jr., 29, of Pendleton Drive was arraigned Thursday morning by Magistrate JoAnn Overington on one count of first-degree murder in the death of Jill Greenfield, 29, of the same address. 

A preliminary hearing on the case is scheduled for Aug. 29, according to court records.

Greenfield was found dead, lying in bed with severe trauma to her face and head in a rear bedroom of their apartment, which is off Tavern Road, the court records said. 

A hammer covered in blood was found next to her body on the bed, police said. 

Greenfield’s body later was taken to Morgantown, W.Va., for an autopsy, police said. 

Rickie Greenfield was taken into custody without incident outside the Rumsey Terrace Apartments complex by officers from the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, West Virginia State Police and Martinsburg Police Department. 

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The Rumsey Terrace apartment complex is less than five miles away from the Pendleton Drive address.

Greenfield had dropped off his two children with a friend and co-worker at an apartment in the complex, according to a complaint filed in magistrate court.

Martinsburg police said they were dispatched at 10:13 p.m. for a homicide that reportedly just occurred.

Officers were told that a 911 caller indicated the defendant had just told him that he had killed his wife, court records said.

Police also were told Rickie Greenfield was driving a silver Dodge truck and that he had his two children with him, the records said.  

After police determined that Jill Greenfield resided at the Pendleton Drive apartment, officers went there and forced their way in after discovering the door was locked. They found her body, and medics quickly determined she was dead, police said.

While at the residence, police said Greenfield’s father, Rickie L. Greenfield Sr., arrived and told one of the officers that his son had called him and said that he killed his wife, records said.

Patrol Officer Scott Shelton, who transported the defendant back to the city police station, reported that he said that he and his wife were having marital problems, according to the complaint filed by Martinsburg police Capt. George Swartwood.

Rickie Greenfield told Shelton that he dropped off his children with their mother at the apartment and just “snapped” after his wife began telling him in front of the children that she was done with him and that she would be with whomever she wanted, the complaint said.

“He stated that he didn’t mind her being with someone else, but he could not handle having his wife talk to him like that in front of his kids,” Swartwood said in the complaint.

Shelton said that the defendant voluntarily made the statements, which included the comment that “he could not stand the fact that his wife for seven years had decided to leave him,” records said.

In a statement to police, Greenfield’s father said his son called and told him he was taking the children to be with their mother at the Pendleton Drive apartment. His son then called again about 30 minutes later and told his father that Jill was dead, and that he killed her with a hammer, the records said.

Greenfield’s father told police that his son said he was going to run from the police who were after him and was going to kill himself. He told his son to turn himself in instead and to call 911. His son then asked him to make the call to 911 and to the police, the records said.

Greenfield’s father said he contacted his brother-in-law, John Kidwell, and told him what his son had said, and they went to the Pendleton Drive apartment, which they found was locked. No one answered the door, and Kidwell called 911, the records said. 

Greenfield’s father said his son told him that the couple was having marital problems, and that on a different date his son said he was going to kill his wife and that she was cheating on him, the records said.

Greenfield’s father said he also was aware that his son had a relationship with another woman, the records said.

After police arrived at the Pendleton Drive apartment, Greenfield’s father said he called again and told him that he was in hiding and that his children were with Kristin Strong, the records said.

Greenfield said he again told his son to turn himself in, and his son subsequently told him he was at the Rumsey Terrace apartment complex, the records said.

In her statement, Strong told police that Greenfield was shaking when he came to her residence with his two children Wednesday night. Strong said Greenfield said that he killed his wife and that he did it with a hammer after he “lost control,” the records said. 

Strong said Greenfield still was wearing his work clothes when he arrived and washed his hands while he was there. She also said that she knew Greenfield was going through marital trouble and “believed there was a potential there for a relationship,” the records said.

Earlier Wednesday, Strong said the defendant had been at her apartment with his children and told her he was going to take the children to their mother’s residence.

The West Virginia State Police mobile crime scene unit was contacted to assist with the investigation, Martinsburg police said.

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