Hebron man sentenced for beating, burning roommate

WMDT 47 ABC News, Maryland/April 30, 2015

Wicomico County, Maryland -- One of two men accused of beating and burning their roommate in Hebron last year, was sentenced in Wicomico County Circuit Court

“They literally beat this man from dusk to dawn,” says Matt Maciarello, Wicomico County State’s Attorney. “It was torture.”

33-year-old Paul Hurst will spend the next 40 years behind bars. He pleaded guilty to attempted first degree murder back in March as a part of a plea deal with the state.

According to Maciarello, he stomped, kicked, and punched his roommate back in August of 2014, taking a pocket knife to his arm to carve out a tattoo, and when that did not work, setting it on fire.

“This definitely ranks up there with some of the most heinous and egregious acts we've seen in Wicomico.”

Hurst is affiliated with the juggalos, a cult following of the band Insane Clown Posse. Swanson and Hurst’s co-defendant Cary Lee Edwards are also members.

According to state prosecutors, Hurst and Edwards thought Swanson was being disrespectful to other cult members by violating the "family" dynamics that they live by. For that reason, they felt the need to remove a hatchet-man tattoo, that was unique to the cult, from his arm.

When that did not work, they tried to burn it off.

Edwards and another roommate drove Swanson to PRMC the next day barely alive. Maciarello says when detectives asked Hurst if he wanted to kill Swanson, he told them, "I said I wanted to, I honestly did.”

“From his lips to witnesses ears, he stated his intent was to kill the victim,” says Maciarello.

That is one reason why Hurst’s sentence is ten years longer than Edwards. Another factor, is his extensive criminal history in Virginia.

According to Maciarello, he has a history of assaults against family members, failing to register as a violent sex offender*three times, and threats to bomb and a destroy a building. Despite at least eight different arrests, he reportedly spent no more than ten years behind bars collectively.

“Regionally we’re glad that we were able to achieve a measure of safety for citizens,” says Maciarello. “He will be behind bars for a very, very long time.”

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