Two charged with murder in man's beating death
A third may plea-bargain in possible hate crime
by Anthony Glassman
Waverly, Ohio--Two of the three men arrested in the beating death of
a deaf gay man were indicted by a grand jury on October 8.
Matthew Wayne Ferman, 22, and Martin Edward Baxter, 28, face
penalties of 20 years to life on aggravated murder charges and three
to 10 years on robbery charges.
James Veachel Trent, 19, is negotiating a plea agreement with Pike
County Prosecutor Robert Junk in exchange for testifying against
Ferman and Baxter. His indictment will come after negotiations have
The three are accused of robbing Daniel Fetty, 39, in the wee hours
of October 2, and beating him with bricks and boards before stripping
him and throwing him into a trash container. Police found Fetty while
responding to a report of a fight, and the three men were arrested
Fetty was flown to Grant Hospital in Columbus, where he died twelve
hours after being found by police.
All three suspects are being held on $1 million bond at Ross County
Jail in Chillicothe. It was the first slaying in four decades in
Waverly, about 60 miles south of Columbus.
"He was a gentle man, and I'm sure that it did not require three men
armed with boards and bricks to simply overtake him and steal his
cash, nor could he have instigated such a vicious attack," said
Alicia Purdy, who had been Fetty's roommate when he lived in Texas.
Fetty had been living in his car after his apartment was destroyed in
a fire. He was working at a local restaurant to save money for a new
apartment. The trio is accused of robbing him of his week's pay,
given to him earlier on the night of his death.
Fetty has relatives in the area, but Purdy believes that they were not close.
Also, "Dano was a proud man and did not want to 'mooch' off family
members," she said.
Purdy is concerned that Waverly police chief Larry Roe is not
investigating the incident as a hate crime. Roe did not return
numerous calls for comment, but has told other publications the
incident is being investigated as a robbery.
Prosecutor Junk, however, said that he was keeping the matter open to
all possible motivations, although Ohio has no hate crime law. (An
"ethnic intimidation" statute, which does not include gays, applies
only to five misdemeanors.)
Junk said last week that robbery might not be the primary motive for
the crime because Fetty's assailants had stripped him naked.
"That factor and the severity of the beating," Junk said, "this is
something we, and I, take seriously and we will check it out."
Junk has said this is among the worst crimes he's dealt with.
"I believe Ohio's laws are well behind the times," Purdy said. "These
hate crimes are especially heinous because the offenders have formed
their opinions and acted on them without any regard for the
"Dano was not just any 'gay man,' he was a brother, a son, a
grandson, and a beloved friend."
Source: Gay People's Chronicle
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