A West Virginia man faces a murder charge after police say he provided the firearm that was used to kill a Carroll County woman and helped dispose of her body.
Norman A. Bradford Jr., 49, of Falling Waters, was arrested by members of the U.S. Marshals Mountain State Fugitive Task Force and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in Harpers Ferry, according to a news release from the U.S. Marshals Service.
He has been charged with first-degree murder in Berkeley County, according to a criminal complaint. Bradford is being held without bond, online jail records show. He was booked at Eastern Regional Jail.
U.S. Marshals Service wrote in a release Bradford is suspected of conspiring with others in the murders of 18-year-old Taneytown resident Danielle Tyler and Westminster resident Heather Grogg, 33, in an effort to cover up the murder of Taneytown resident Jonathan Riddle, also 33. Riddle’s body was found on fire with stab wounds about 40 feet from a road in Rippon, West Virginia, on March 18, according to police.
According to the criminal complaint, Bradford provided the firearm that was used to kill Grogg and helped dispose of her body. Westminster resident Jeffrey Smith Jr., 22, has been charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy for allegedly shooting Grogg. The criminal complaint also states Westminster resident Monroe Merrell, 23, was involved in Grogg’s murder. The criminal complaint did not state how Bradford allegedly conspired in Tyler’s murder.
Smith and Westminster residents David Sanford Jr., and Emily Day drove Grogg and Tyler to April Braner’s home in the 300 block of Burnside Drive in Falling Waters on April 6, according to the criminal complaint. They allegedly told the women they would be safe there while law enforcement investigated Riddle’s murder. Merrell, who had been staying with the 37-year-old Braner, arranged for Grogg and Tyler to be brought there to be killed, according to the criminal complaint.
Sanford allegedly suffocated Tyler with a plastic bag in a trailer on the property, according to charging documents.
In the early morning of April 7, Merrell, Smith, and Grogg left the residence by car, followed by Bradford in a different vehicle, the criminal complaint states. At another location in Berkeley County that was not disclosed by police, Merrell and Grogg got out of the car, Grogg was distracted and then shot three times, according to the criminal complaint.
Bradford, known in the Pagans Motorcycle Club as “Six Three,” was arrested on Valmont Lane after law enforcement learned he was staying there in a motor home, the release states. Members of the U.S. Marshals Service task force and the Jefferson County SWAT Team found him there and took him into custody without incident, according to the release.
The federal government classifies the Pagans Motorcycle Club as a violent outlaw motorcycle gang.
“These murders were heinous crimes, and the individuals who committed these violent acts showed a blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life,” said U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of West Virginia J.C. Raffety in the release. “I am particularly proud of the part the U.S. Marshals play in providing assistance to our local partners to locate and apprehend their most violent fugitives. This community is safer because of it.”
Bradford has a preliminary hearing scheduled for June 17. It was not immediately clear Wednesday whether he has an attorney.
Events leading up to Bradford’s arrest
Merrell, 26-year-old Sanford, and Taneytown resident John Black III, 22, have been charged in the murder of Riddle in Jefferson County, West Virginia. They continue to be held in West Virginia jails without bond, online records show.
According to charging documents, Riddle had gone to Sanford’s residence to see Grogg when a fight broke out. Someone accused Riddle of taking someone’s drugs, Sgt. Steve Holz of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said.
Merrell restrained Riddle and Sanford stabbed him, according to charging documents, then Riddle was bound and taken by car to West Virginia, where police believe he was killed and set on fire. Black is also accused of kidnapping and stabbing Riddle.
The fight with Riddle started after a group of people returned from a St. Patrick’s Day party at a Pagans clubhouse in West Virginia, Holz said. The partygoers included Sanford, Black, Merrell, Tyler, Day, and two unnamed teens, according to Holz.
Day, 27, had been charged with being an accessory to murder, before and after the fact, involving Riddle’s death, according to charging documents. She pleaded not guilty April 29, and on May 28 the case was dismissed for lack of probable cause. Grogg was a live-in babysitter for Day and Sanford, according to her family.
Holz said he believes Grogg and Tyler had knowledge of the murder of Riddle and suspects they were considered liabilities by those police believe were involved in Riddle’s death.
Braner allegedly allowed her home to be used as the site where Tyler and Grogg were killed, and provided one of the murder weapons, a plastic bag. Charging documents state Braner checked Tyler and found her still alive, so Sanford used the bag again to suffocate Tyler until she was dead. Braner is being held on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy.