Arundel teen charged in fatal rock-throwing

June 22, 1995|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Sun Staff Writer

Anne Arundel County police have charged a Lothian teen-ager with second-degree murder in the April 3 rock-throwing incident that killed a Deale father of three as he was on his way home from work.

Homicide detectives spent more than two months chasing down hundreds of leads in the death of Kevin Michael Gallagher, 38, before they arrested Jason Wayne Wyvill, 16, who lives in Lyons Creek Mobile Estates.

Anne Arundel detectives and Hampton, Va., police arrested the youth at a drug rehabilitation center in Hampton late Tuesday and charged him as an adult, said Anne Arundel police Lt. Harry Collier.

Mr. Gallagher's wife, Lori, 35, said from her home yesterday that she is "relieved" that police have finally arrested a suspect.

"I didn't want anyone else to be hurt," she said, adding that she feels sorry for the suspect's family.

"I can't imagine what it's like to have your 16-year-old charged with second-degree murder," she said. "But I'm very proud of the Anne Arundel County Police Department. They have gone way beyond the call of duty."

The Wyvill youth was being held in Hampton yesterday pending an extradition hearing. Officer Randy Bell, a police spokesman, said the teen may be returned to Anne Arundel County today or tomorrow.

Anne Arundel District Court documents allege that the Wyvill youth hurled a rock at Mr. Gallagher's Dodge Dakota from a Chevrolet Corsica driven by a 19-year-old man whom police have declined to identify.

The baseball-sized rock crashed through Mr. Gallagher's lower left windshield about 9:30 p.m. as he was driving home from his job as a contractor in Washington. Mr. Gallagher lost control of his truck, which crashed and overturned on Route 258 near Solomons Island Road.

Homicide detectives "scoured the southern part of the county," Officer Bell said. They set up two roadblocks and questioned motorists about possible leads.

"Throughout the investigation we had acquired hundreds of pieces of information that led us to two witnesses, who led us to the driver of the car," Lieutenant Collier said.

Detectives Timothy Zywiolek and Malcolm Jack Payne tracked down the two witnesses June 17. They gave written statements alleging that the Wyvill youth admitted to them that he threw the rock, according to charging documents.

Those witnesses led Detectives Zywiolek and Payne to the driver, who gave them a written statement admitting his involvement and identifying the Wyvill youth as the rock thrower. The driver told them that the Wyvill youth was at the drug rehabilitation house in Hampton, where he had been less than a week, Lieutenant Collier said.

Both witnesses and the driver gave details about the incident that police say only those involved could have known. They also confessed their involvement in other rock-throwing incidents the same night, police said.

None of the three has been charged, Lieutenant Collier said. But police will give the results of their investigation to the Anne Arundel state's attorney's office, which will decide whether additional charges will be filed.

A spokeswoman at the state's attorney's office said that the maximum penalty for second-degree murder is 30 years imprisonment.

Mr. Gallagher lived with his wife and their three sons -- Daniel, 9, Wesley, 7, and Dillon, 3 -- in a house on Sneed Drive that he had built himself.

Mr. Gallagher's brother, Timothy Gallagher, 34, said he had faith from the beginning that county police would make an arrest.

"But I still miss my brother," he said. "Nothing's going to bring him back."

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