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4 shot dead in Clarksburg; suspect in custody

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Harrison County man was charged Friday afternoon with killing four people earlier in the day -- including a father and son who were delivering newspapers.

Harrison County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Shaffer said Sidney A. Muller, 27, was arrested Friday and charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Freddy Donald Swiger, 70; Fred Swiger, 47; Todd Russell Amos, 29, and Christopher A. Hart, 26.

All were present near a house at 745 Locust Ave. at about 4:30 a.m. when Muller opened fire, Shaffer said.

Shaffer said Fred and Freddy Swiger were delivering newspapers for The Exponent-Telegram when they were gunned down.

"They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Shaffer said. "It's a horrible tragedy."

"I only had the pleasure of knowing Fred and Freddy for the past year and a half, since I took over ownership of The Exponent-Telegram," said Brian Jarvis. "They were extremely nice, loyal, and cared very deeply about their customers."

Jarvis said newspaper customers had called throughout the day to express their condolences. The father-son team had delivered the paper for more than 30 years.

Shaffer said Muller went to the well-known drug house for a drug deal that apparently went bad. He said one of the initial victims -- either Hart or Amos -- was shot inside the house and another was shot outside.

The Swigers apparently got in the way as Muller was trying to flee and also were shot, Shaffer said.

Hart survived the initial fusillade of gunfire but died on the way to the hospital, Shaffer said.

The prosecutor said the shootings took place in a neighborhood that used to be safe, but drug dealers have moved in over the past few years, and the area has changed dramatically.

"It's a street you absolutely don't want to walk down in daylight, let alone at night," Shaffer said.

Muller was driving a Buick Verano and was stopped near White Hall by Marion County sheriff's deputies at about 5:45 a.m., Shaffer said. He was arrested for driving on a suspended license, the prosecutor said.

Clarksburg detectives went to Marion County to interview Muller, and later charged him with murder.

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.


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