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Men face new charges in beating

Prosecutor calls murder a hate crime

12/10/2004

WAVERLY -- Two men accused of the beating death of a gay homeless man were reindicted Wednesday on six new charges, bringing the death penalty back into play.

Martin E. Baxter, 28, of 112 W. Fourth St., and Matthew W. Ferman, 22, of 438 Estep Lane, originally were indicted Oct. 8 on one count each of aggravated murder.

The charges stem from the night of Oct. 2, when Daniel Fetty, a 39-year-old deaf and gay man living out of his car, was beaten with bricks, boards and bottles, stripped naked and dumped in a trash container. He died 12 hours later at a Columbus hospital.

But Wednesday, Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk presented new evidence to a special session of the Pike County Grand Jury resulting in each man being indicted on six felony counts, including two counts each of aggravated robbery with death penalty specifications.

"The (Waverly) police department had continued to investigate," Junk said. "They had gathered new evidence that had existed at the time of the original grand jury," but wasn't available Oct. 2.

Junk said each man could be convicted on only one count of aggravated murder, which he labeled a hate crime.

"There's two ways to charge the same thing," he said. One count charges the murder "with prior calculation and design," while the other charges the murder occurred in concert with another felony.

Baxter and Ferman are scheduled to go to trial Monday morning on the original aggravated murder charge. Junk said he expected to drop that charge against both men and proceed with the new ones.

Jim Boulger, Baxter's attorney, said he couldn't comment on the indictments because he had just gotten word of them Thursday afternoon. With the new indictments, he said he expected Baxter's trial to be delayed.

Ferman's attorney could not be reached for comment.

"I would suppose that the state wishes to proceed on the new indictment," Boulger said Thursday night. "My client hasn't even been arraigned on the new indictment."

Baxter and Ferman each also face one count of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, abduction and two counts of aggravated murder, both third-degree felonies.

Source: Chillicothe Gazette



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