Prosecutors await autopsy in Manchester death

July 08, 1999|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Carroll County prosecutors will await a medical examiner's ruling before deciding how to proceed with charges in a fistfight Tuesday night in Manchester after which a man died of apparent heart failure.

Gary Brent Wheeler Jr., 34, of the 3100 block of S. Main St., Manchester, has been charged with a single count of second-degree assault -- a misdemeanor. He was released without bail about 11 p.m. Tuesday, court records show.

Fred D. Tipton, 36, believed to be from Finksburg, was pronounced dead at Carroll County General Hospital about 8 p.m. Tuesday, police said.

State police took over the investigation from Manchester police, who received a 911 call about 6 p.m. Tuesday reporting an assault in progress at Maiden Lane and Westminster Street. Ambulance personnel found a man behind the wheel of a car in cardiac arrest.

The fight might have been motivated by a domestic dispute involving Tipton's estranged wife, according to police.

Witnesses told police that Tipton and another man argued in an alley behind Wheeler's home. They said one man hit the other, who was seated in a car, several times with his fists and left, saying, "Leave him alone. He is just a drunk," police said. Wheeler was arrested at a nearby restaurant, according to the police and court records.

"If the medical examiner says there is a causal connection or a nexus between the beating and the ultimate death of the victim, the potentiality would exist for some degree of homicide charges," State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes said. "At this early date, with the information I have in my possession, it would probably be a manslaughter charge."

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