Crisfield in Shock After City's First Murder Since 2005 - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Crisfield in Shock After City's First Murder Since 2005

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John Richard Hill Jr., murder suspect John Richard Hill Jr., murder suspect

CRISFIELD, Md.- Crisfield is in shock, as one man is dead and another sits behind bars following the city's first murder in seven years.

Crisfield police said that on the evening of Sunday, July 29, several 911 hang-ups and reports of a possible stabbing led them to the Pines Motel on North Somerset Avenue. Once officers arrived, they found the suspect, as well as the victim, who was lying on the floor with two stab wounds.

Those who live at the motel describe it as "peaceful." Sunday night, that image was shaken up.

"It's stuff that you hear on the news and on the papers and stuff and nothing you would hear down here, especially down here so it's kind of shocking," described Pines Motel resident Betty Jones.

Police said an argument escalated into a fight on the motel's second floor landing, where that fight escalated into murder. According to police, 39-year old John Hill pulled out a knife, stabbing 42-year old Aaron Culbertson to death.
     
Police Chief Michael Tabor told WBOC the whole community is outraged.

"We have the city here that we've been decreasing crime here the last five years and it's amazing to have something like this occur," Tabor said. "It's totally outrageous. The community's up in arms, rightfully so. We're frustrated by the fact that something would happen like this."

Those who knew Culbertson, a father of three children, said the loss is being felt all around.

"It just breaks your heart to know that someone was taken away at such a young age," said Culbertson's aunt, Elsie Cooper. "Now the children's going to suffer for this. And the family of the one who hurt him. That family's going to suffer today. It's two losses here. It's not just one, it's two."

Cooper described Culbertson as a kind-hearted man who was loved by many.

"This whole town's going to miss him," Cooper said. "He was like an old shoe. He was always around. I just want people to know that. What a wonderful person he was and how it's going to be a great loss to all of us."

Hill has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 17. Police said Hill does have a criminal history of drugs and assault. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Police have not yet identified a motive in the murder. 

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From Monday afternoon:

Crisfield police have named the victim of a fatal stabbing that occurred over the weekend at the Pines Motel on North Somerset Avenue.

The victim was identified as 42-year-old Aaron Culbertson of 66 Somers Cove Apartments in Crisfield.

At around 9:14 p.m. Sunday, July 29, police responded to the Pines Motel for several 911 hangups and a possible stabbing. When officers arrived on the scene, several occupants of the Pines Motel were reportedly screaming that someone had just stabbed a man. Witnesses described the suspect as a white male wearing red pajama pants and a white T-shirt. Officers located the suspect and took him into custody pending further investigation.

Other officers went to the aid of the victim, who turned out to be Culbertson. Police said Culbertson, who was lying on the second floor landing of the motel, sustained approximately two stab wounds underneath the arm pit area of his body.

EMS personnel responded to the crime scene and transported Culbertson to McCready Hospital where he was pronounced deceased at 9:58 p.m. Culbertson's body has been transported to the State Medical Examiner's office in Baltimore for an autopsy. The Maryland State Police Crime Lab processed the scene. The weapon used in the stabbing was recovered from the scene, police said.

According to police, an investigation revealed that there was an argument between Culbertson and Hill that led to a fight, which led to Hill picking up a kitchen knife and stabbing Culbertson.

The suspect in the stabbing, 39-year-old John Richard Hill Jr., of 220 East Main St., Apt. 1, Crisfield, was charged with first- and second-degree murder, attempted first- and second-degree murder, manslaughter, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and dangerous weapon with intent to injure.   

Hill is being held without bond at the Somerset County Detention Center.

This is the first murder in Crisfield since 2005, according to Police Chief Michael Tabor.

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