Man pleads guilty in Juggalo-related attempted murder


One of the Insane Clown Posse followers charged in a beating, stomping and burning of a fellow Juggalo outside a Hebron-area home pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder Friday.

Cary Edwards, 36, of Hebron entered the plea in the August incident that included trying to remove a hatchet man tattoo –– associated with Juggalos, followers of the Insane Clown Posse hip-hop duo –– from Zach Swanson, 31.

Paul Hurst, 33, of Hebron is also charged with first-degree attempted murder and related charges in the incident, and has a trial set for April 7 and 8 in Wicomico County Circuit Court. Hurst and Edwards were living in the same home as Swanson at 7290 Rockawalkin Road.

Sheriff Mike Lewis said in August both the suspects and the victim are Juggalos.

The assault lasted from about dusk Aug. 3 to about 4:30 or 5:30 a.m. Aug. 4, Wicomico County State’s Attorney Matt Maciarello said Friday.

Under Edwards’ plea, Maciarello said the state will recommend a sentence of 30 years with the remainder of a life sentence suspended, and 5 years of supervised probation for him. However, the court can impose a higher or lower sentence.

Edwards will also have to testify truthfully at Hurst’s trial, Maciarello said; Edwards’ sentencing was postponed until after that happens.

Edwards’ attorney, Assistant Public Defender David Owen Weck, said Edwards recognizes how what he did impacted ongoing pain for Swanson.

“He thought it was the right thing to do to take responsibility for his actions,” Weck said of Edwards.

Maciarello said at about 6:45 a.m. Aug. 4, a Wicomico County sheriff’s deputy responded to Peninsula Regional Medical Center, where Swanson had been brought with injuries including cuts and bruises, black around his eyes, a broken nose, internal bleeding, burns, broken ribs and a lacerated spleen and liver. One of Swanson’s arms later had to be amputated as a result of the assault.

He’d been brought to the hospital by Edwards and another resident of the home, Samuel Schwartz, Maciarello said.

At about dusk on Aug. 3, Edwards and Hurst confronted Swanson about disrespecting Tabitha Schwartz, who also lived in the home, Maciarello said a trial would have revealed. Testimony would reveal members of the household were also mad at Swanson in connection with household chores, he said.

A shovel, lighter fluid and other items were used during the assault, and Edwards also urinated on Swanson, Maciarello said. Charging documents stated Edwards and Hurst had tried to cut the tattoo from Swanson’s arm.

vjunkin@dmg.gannett.com

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