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Ward convicted of murder; sentencing in June

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

WOODSTOCK — A Strasburg man has pleaded guilty to shooting a Maryland man to death 16 months ago and will be sentenced this summer.

During a hearing in Shenandoah County Circuit Court last week, Judge Dennis Hupp convicted Lucas Scott Ward, 35, of killing Corey Patrick O’Neil, 42, of Gaithersburg, Md., at the Ramada Inn in Strasburg on Oct. 26, 2014.

Ward was also convicted of holding O’Neil’s sister, Sadie Melissa Beck, 27, of Knox, Pa., against her will at the motel until Strasburg police arrested him.

Ward pleaded guilty to six felonies, including second-degree murder, malicious wounding, strangulation, abduction, use of a firearm in committing a felony and assault and battery on law enforcement.

As part of a plea agreement, four additional charges of rape, abduction, resisting arrest and destruction of property were dropped.

Ward pleaded not guilty to all 10 charges on July 1. He had been scheduled to stand trial on March 14 and March 15, but accepted the plea deal instead.

Police arrived at the motel at 35 Brandy Court at about 3 a.m. the night of the shooting. They found O’Neil with a gunshot wound to the head and Beck with a broken arm and cuts to her neck.

Police said Ward, O’Neil and Beck had met at a wedding reception in town the previous day.

Ward faces up to 83 years in prison, including a mandatory minimum three-year sentence for the firearm conviction.

A trial had been scheduled for November, but Hupp postponed it to this month because the state’s chief medical examiner was unavailable to stand trial.

Ward underwent an MRI last year and was deemed fit to stand trial.



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