HEBRON, Md. — Both of the men charged in the attack of a fellow Insane Clown Posse follower in the Hebron area have now pleaded guilty.
Paul Hurst, 33, of Hebron pleaded guilty on Friday to attempted first-degree murder in the Aug. 4 incident, which according to a statement of facts included the beating, burning, cutting and stomping of Zach Swanson, 31.
This follows a guilty plea to attempted first-degree murder by the co-defendant, Cary Edwards, 36, of Hebron, last month.
Hurst is scheduled to be sentenced on April 30, and Edwards also hasn’t been sentenced yet.
For Hurst, the state will recommend a sentence of 40 years of active time, with the remainder of a life sentence suspended, said Wicomico County State’s Attorney Matt Maciarello. The defense can argue for less, said Hurst’s attorney, Kelley McFadden.
Among Swanson’s injuries were cuts and bruises, burns, internal bleeding, fractured ribs and a lacerated spleen and liver, Maciarello said. He also had to have an arm amputation, Maciarello said.
The assault lasted from about dusk on Aug. 3 to the early morning of Aug. 4, Maciarello said. At around dusk Aug. 4, Hurst and Edwards confronted Swanson about him being disrespectful to Tabitha Schwartz, another resident of the home they all lived in.
Cary Edwards (Photo: .)
Hurst and Edwards had tried to remove a tattoo from Swanson at the suggestion of a man who Schwartz had on speakerphone, “ostensibly because he was neglectful of his Juggalo family,” Maciarello said.
Juggalos is the name for followers of the Insane Clown Posse music duo. The FBI has referred to Juggalos as a “loosely-organized hybrid gang,” according to its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment.
During the assault, Maciarello said Hurst and Edwards had hit Swanson with a stick and shovel, tried to cut the tattoo off and then Hurst got lighter fluid and poured it on Swanson’s arm. Edwards also urinated on Swanson, Maciarello said.
Schwartz would have testified about the household’s frustration with Swanson, he said.
At Edwards’ hearing, Maciarello said the state would be recommending a sentence of 30 years of active time with the remainder of a life sentence suspended for Edwards. He said Hurst stood to receive a longer active sentence due to several factors, including the state’s assessment of who was more culpable.
McFadden didn’t want to comment at this time.