Pair facing 1st degree attempted murder charges in alleged cult incident

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A Hebron man and a Williamsburg, Va., man were each charged with attempted first-degree murder and related charges after an assault was reported to the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office early Aug. 4, according to Sheriff Mike Lewis.

Lewis said Paul Martin Hurst, 33, of Hebron, and Cary Lee Edwards, 35, of Williamsburg, were also charged with attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and deadly weapon.

Deputies responded early today to a call from Peninsula Regional Medical Center regarding a man taken to the emergency room with injuries from an assault, according to the sheriff’s office.

Lewis said  Zachary Swanson of Hebron, 31, was beaten and nearly killed by two people who live on Rockawalkin Road in Hebron.

Lewis said the incident began around 1 a.m. following an argument.

Lewis said two men attempted to forcibly carve a tattoo, consistent with the Juggalos Cult, from the victim’s arm.  When they couldn’t remove the tattoo, they doused the victim’s arm with a flammable liquid and set fire to it, causing severe burns, Lewis said.

After being left  on the ground several hours without medical treatment, Swanson was taken to PRMC, then flown to a Baltimore burn center for further treatment, Lewis said.

Members of the Wicomico Bureau of Investigation are investigating.

Lewis said detectives were executing a search warrant on the house and vehicle used to take Swanson to the hospital.

Lewis said detectives are exploring the possibility that those involved are affiliated with Juggalos, a cult following of the Insane Clown Posse, an American hip hop duo from Detroit, originally known as the JJ Boyz and Inner City Posse.

Lewis said the group uses “supernatural and horror-themed lyrics as a means of distinguishing itself stylistically.”

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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