Monday, August 6, 2012

Crisfield, MD: Crisfield man charged with murder

CRISFIELD -- A Crisfield man was being held without bond late Monday in connection with the Sunday night stabbing death of his girlfriend's ex-husband at the Pines Motel.

John Richard Hill Jr., 39, of the 220 block of East Main Street, was arrested shortly after officers arrived on the scene at 9:14 p.m., according to the Crisfield Police Department.

The victim, Aaron Culbertson, 42, of the 60 block of Somers Cove Apartments, was taken to McCready Memorial Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, police said.

Crisfield Police Chief Mike Tabor said that while the relationship wasn't exactly a love triangle, there was bad blood between the two men.

"The two of them don't mix," Tabor said.

Officers were dispatched to the motel on Somerset Avenue in response to several 911 hang-ups and a report of a possible stabbing.

When they arrived, several occupants of the motel were yelling that someone had been stabbed. They described the suspect as a white male wearing red pajama pants and a white T-shirt, according to police.

Soon after, Hill, who fit the description, was escorted down the steps by David Purnell Thomas Sr. and turned over to police.

Other officers went to the aid of Culbertson, who was lying on the second-floor landing of the motel.

Culbertson was conscious and told police he couldn't breathe, according to charging documents filed in District Court.

Police interviewed Deborah Culbertson, a tenant at the motel and Aaron Culbertson's ex-wife, who said that Hill was taking a shower in her room when Culbertson arrived and the two men got into an argument, according to court documents.

Culbertson decided to leave the room to avoid further confrontation, but as he exited, Hill grabbed a butcher knife, knocked Deborah Culbertson to the floor and stabbed Aaron Culbertson in the back, according to police charging documents.

Deborah Hill told police she screamed for help and Thomas responded and separated the two men.

The Maryland State Police crime lab processed the scene and recovered the murder weapon.

Culbertson's body has been sent to the Maryland Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore for an autopsy.

Hill has been charged with first- and second-degree murder, manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and possession of a dangerous weapon with intent to injure, police said.

A preliminary hearing has been set for Aug. 17.

Tabor said the homicide was the latest in a string of incidents at the motel this year. Police have been called there 27 times for various complaints, most of them involving clientele, whom Tabor described as "riff-raff."

Last week, the department increased its patrols at the motel in response to complaints of drugs and other problems, and Tabor asked the motel's owner to provide private security there at night.

"We're trying to do something about this," he said.

Culbertson's death is the first homicide in the city since 2005, when a Locust Street resident shot and killed an intruder in what was deemed self-defense, Tabor said.

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