Edwards Pleads Guilty to Attempted First Degree Murder - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Edwards Pleads Guilty to Attempted First Degree Murder

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Cary Edwards (left), Paul Hurst (right) Cary Edwards (left), Paul Hurst (right)
SALISBURY, Md. -- After two suspects beat a Hebron man nearly to death and set his arm on fire in August, one suspect has plead guilty to attempted first-degree murder.

According to police, the incident happened Aug. 4, shortly after 1 a.m., along the 7200 block of Rockawalkin Road.

Deputies from the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office said Paul Martin Hurst, 33, of Hebron, and Cary Lee Edwards, 35, of Williamsburg, Va., got into an argument with Zachary Swanson, 31, of Hebron, and beat him nearly to the point of death.

The three men shared the Hebron home and are affiliated with Juggalos, a cult gang following of the Insane Clown Posse, an American hip-hop duo from Detroit. All three men had ICP tattoos on their arms of a fictional character known as “hatchet man.”

Wicomico County State's Attorney Matt Maciarello said the hatchet man represents an ICP lifestyle meaning “all about the family." The defendants believed the victim was disrespecting the "family" and decided to take action, according to sources. On Friday, Edwards accepted the prosecution's plea offer of life in prison, with all but 30 years suspended. Edwards would be eligible for parole after serving 15 years, but would have an additional five years probation, according to Maciarello.

Maciarello said the judge will not impose the sentence until after Edwards testifies against Hurst, who is scheduled for trial April 7 & 8.

"The judge will sentence (Edwards) only after he satisfies his condition of testifying against Hurst," he said. "The judge could go lower. The judge could go higher and sentence him to the maximum penality of life in prison."

The suspects, Hurst and Edwards, beat Swanson and then attempted to carve his gang tattoo off his arm, according to investigators. Police said the suspects were unsuccessful, so they doused Swanson's arm with a flammable liquid instead, and set it on fire.

Swanson was severely burned and taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center, then later flown to a burn center in Baltimore. Swanson's arm had to be amputated, as it was too badly damaged to be saved.

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