Man gets life sentence in '82 Cockeysville slaying Murder-for-hire plot was unveiled years later in Pennsylvania prison

March 21, 1996|By Elaine Tassy | Elaine Tassy,SUN STAFF

A Cockeysville murder in which a man is charged with hiring two others to kill his younger brother for insurance money left Baltimore County detectives stumped for more than a dozen years.

But yesterday, the shooter, Daniel Pepperman, 35, was sentenced to life in prison after an accomplice confessed to the plot and implicated him, too.

The 1982 slaying involved brothers Scott Charles Crist and David William Crist, prosecutors say.

Charging documents filed in Baltimore County District Court say, David Crist paid Pepperman and Tyron Eugene Eiswerth $2,000 each to kill Scott Crist.

"I don't know how two brothers could come out so differently," Wendy Lou Baker, the victim's fiancee, said yesterday.

In May 1981, the Crist brothers' mother died, leaving a house and an insurance policy worth $300,000 for them to split. But David Crist apparently wanted it all, prosecutors say.

Scott Crist who would have been 36 today graduated from Lehigh University, moved to Cockeysville and took a job at Bendix Corp. David Crist remained in Williamsport, Pa.

Prosecutors charge that David Crist hired childhood friend Eiswerth, then 17, and Pepperman, then 21, to kill Scott Crist in exchange for money and drugs.

On Feb. 21, 1982, Pepperman and Eiswerth found Scott Crist removing bags from his car, outside his home on Hogarth Circle. Pepperman shot him at least five times with a .25-caliber handgun, evidence showed.

Although people who gave the killers road directions could describe Pepperman and the small dark car with Pennsylvania tags that Eiswerth was driving, there wasn't enough evidence for detectives to make any arrests, and the case remained open.

In Pennsylvania, David Crist got the insurance money, lived in his mother's house, had two daughters with one woman, later married another and had two sons and opened a framing shop, prosecutors say.

In the early 1990s, he allegedly tried to kill his daughters one by electrocution and the other by pushing her in front of a truck he'd hired someone to drive to collect their insurance money, prosecutors say. He awaits trial in Lycoming County, Pa., on both attempted murder charges.

The big break in the Baltimore County case came last year.

Eiswerth, jailed in Pennsylvania for bouncing checks, "decides now's the time to come clean," county Assistant State's Attorney Stephen Bailey said.

After Eiswerth told a Pennsylvania detective about the alleged murder plot, authorities notified Baltimore County Detective Milton Duckworth, to whom Eiswerth later confessed.

Eiswerth, who has since pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and awaits sentencing, also pointed the finger at Pepperman and David Crist, who never gave them the drugs or money he promised, prosecutors say.

Detective Duckworth arrested Pepperman at his Pennsylvania lumber yard job last April. Pepperman gave police details identical to Eiswerth's, prosecutors say.

Baltimore County prosecutors withdrew a death penalty notice when Pepperman agreed to plead guilty to first-degree murder. In Baltimore County Circuit Court yesterday, Judge Thomas J. Bollinger sentenced him to life imprisonment plus 15 years for handgun use.

Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty for David Crist after his trials in Pennsylvania.

Pub Date: 3/21/96

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