Man indicted on 2 murder counts; Beating suspect awaits psychiatric evaluation


A Carroll County grand jury has returned two first-degree murder indictments against a Frizzellburg man in the beating deaths of his mother and stepfather.

Gary D. Starnes, 48, who sometimes lived with his mother and her husband in their home in the 1400 block of Warehime Road, was arrested Jan. 6 at Carroll County General Hospital. He had checked himself into the psychiatric ward there Dec. 29, the day police found the bodies of his mother, Barbara Lorraine Ries Garrity, 67, a retired state police secretary, and her husband, Joseph S. Garrity, 68, a former Baltimore police officer, in their home.

The grand jurors indicted Starnes on two counts of murder Thursday. He was ordered held without bail and sent to the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup, where he is being evaluated.

State police said the bodies were found in a shower and a bathtub at the home in the small Pleasant Dale subdivision northwest of Westminster, after an anonymous caller asked authorities to check on the Garritys. They apparently were killed in their bedrooms, which had been cleaned afterward, then dragged into the bathrooms, police said.

At the time of the killings, the police said the motive appeared to be a family dispute.

The police obtained warrants to search the house and a location in West Virginia, as well as a truck that was reported leaving the home and later found at the hospital parking lot in Westminster.

The grand jury also indicted Starnes on two counts of carrying a deadly weapon -- "an ax, hatchet, hammer or similar object." A misdemeanor, the charge carries a maximum sentence of three years' imprisonment.

Carroll County State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes has said he intends to file notice of his intention to seek the death penalty in the case, which is applicable under Maryland law because more than one person was killed. Starnes had not been formally notified of the charges against him.

Pub Date: 2/07/99

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