'War of the Roses' ends with arrest

October 28, 1990|By David Simon

A week in Anne Arundel County's version of "The War of The Roses," otherwise known as the rapidly deteriorating union of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fegan of Edgewater, as recounted by detectives:

* On Sunday, she tossed his belongings out of the house. He BTC returned with a camera and began photographing the debris for future use by his lawyer.

* On Tuesday, she threw a brick through the window of his Edgewater taxidermy shop, then badly cut herself while crawling inside in a successful attempt to find and de

stroy the offending camera.

"She left a trail of blood," a shop employee said. "We tracked her like a deer."

* On Wednesday, she allegedly declared that she wanted him dead.

* On Friday, she tried to hire an undercover Anne Arundel detective to beat her husband of seven years. Then, while he would be recovering, she wanted his store burned to the ground. Then she wanted him shot dead with a hunting arrow in the woods so as to make it look like an accident.

"She's a hard woman," said Steve Cloud, 37, a neighbor whose once-only tryst with Patricia Florence Fegan began the dispute and led to his being wrongly charged with a burglary. "This stuff has been out of hand for a while."

Mrs. Fegan, 30, a secretary, was held yesterday at the county detention center on $175,000 bond. She was charged with conspiracy to murder after she offered pay the undercover officer for the assault, arson and murder with the contents of her husband's business safe, according to investigators.

"Earlier in the week, she had gotten hold of the combination," homicide Detective Thomas Rzepkowski said. "And she passed the combination on so that the undercover [officer] would pay himself from what was in the safe."

According to police and witnesses, the alleged murder-for-hire attempt capped a five-month marital imbroglio in which Mr. Fegan is alleged to have retaliated for his wife's one-night stand with a neighbor by burglarizing the man's home and then framing the man for a second burglary, according to police.

Investigators also confirmed that in the same week as those incidents, the Drug Enforcement Administration executed a search warrant on the neighbor's home as a result of information provided by an anonymous informant. Local police believe Mr. Fegan may have provoked that police action as well.

"I feel bad about what happened," Mr. Cloud said yesterday. "I told Charlie I was going to move out of the neighborhood afterwards because I felt that if their marriage was going to have any chance, I should get away."

According to Mr. Cloud and county detectives -- who said Mrs. Fegan confirmed the account in a statement after her arrest -- the seeds of discord were planted in June, when Mrs. Fegan asked Mr. Cloud, who lived two doors away in the 3300 block of Oak Drive, to meet her at a Route 50 motel. He did so.

Mr. Fegan, 32, later returned from a fishing trip in Canada and learned of the indiscretion, apparently from his wife. According to Mr. Cloud and employees at the taxidermy shop, the couple nonetheless attempted to repair the marriage.

Then, in July, the garage of the residence between the Fegans and Mr. Cloud's homes was burglarized, and Mr. Fegan allegedly told investigating officers that he suspected Mr. Cloud of the crime. A search of Mr. Cloud's recreational vehicle turned up some of the missing property, police said.

Although he protested his innocence, Mr. Cloud was charged with breaking and entering, according to police. Shortly afterward, Mr. Cloud's home also was burglarized and several thousand dollars of property taken.

But when Mr. Cloud tried to report the burglary to county police, he initially was rebuffed by officers, who believed that he had staged the crime. It was only in September that Mr. Cloud had a subsequent meeting with Mrs. Fegan, prompting her to bring additional information to police.

According to Detective Rzepkowski, Mr. Cloud bluffed Mrs. Fegan into coming forward by claiming that the burglary of his home had been observed by DEA agents who were staking out the residence.

"It wasn't true," the detective said. "But he apparently convinced her that the story behind the burglary was all going to come out in any event."

On Sept. 19, Mrs. Fegan gave a statement about both burglaries to police investigators and the Anne Arundel state's attorney's office. In exchange for immunity from prosecution, she implicated her husband, authorities said.

At that point, the marital dispute was catapulted to a higher plane -- and a series of incidents began that led to last week's adventures.

Mr. Cloud declined to comment on the events leading to Mrs. Fegan's arrest, but county investigators identified the embroiled neighbor as the informant who told them of Mrs. Fegan's alleged desire to obtain the services of a hit man.

Police said Mr. Cloud told them that he tried to dissuade the woman, and then came to the police out of fear that if any harm came to Mr. Fegan, he might be blamed by authorities.

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