Man accused of killing rock climber

(WUSA9) -- A man is accused of killing a hiker with a claw hammer during a fight at Carderock Park in Maryland.

David DiPaolo was charged with manslaughter after his arrest in New York last Thursday, according to court documents.

Court documents show that United States Park Police went to Carderock on Dec. 28, 2013 at 2:51 p.m. for the report of an injured person. Emergency personnel directed them to a trail on the base of a rock face where they found 69-year-old Geoffrey Farrar of Arlington with his head against a wooden beam, according to documents. The victim suffered massive head trauma and was airlifted to Suburban Hospital where he later died.

According to the police investigation, a witness saw DiPaolo and Farrar fighting an hour before police were called to the scene. The witness said after the fight DiPaolo got in his minivan. The witness said that he and Farrar then walked along the path to the top of the rock face, according to the investigation. The witness went to the top of the cliff while Farrar walked to the bottom. The witness and another person anchored their ropes at the top of the rock face before the witness reported peering over the edge to check ropes and not seeing anyone below. The witness and the other person decided to walk back down to the bottom of the rock face.

According to documents, the two saw DiPaolo running up the trail and called to him but he didn't respond to them. The two continued walking and saw Farrar lying on the trail, bleeding from his head. Witnesses reported that they did not see Farrar fall.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner later found that there were several open fractures to the skull and lacerations on the back of the victim's hands. The examiner determined there were no other wounds consistent with a fall, according to documents.

Police tried to look for the minivan, which was registered to DiPaolo's father, according to documents. A day later police went to DiPaolo's father's home where he told them that he had received a voicemail message from his son made from a New York telephone number, according to documents. Police then called the number and a person told them he works at a gas station in Chatham, New York and had let a man use his phone.

Then, on January 6, a New York State Police officer conducted a traffic stop on the minivan near Glens Falls, New York. Court documents say that DiPaolo agreed to go to a police station and waived his Miranda rights to speak with officers. Documents indicate that DiPaolo admitted fighting with Farrar in the parking lot at Carderock. Then, DiPaolo told officers that he walked to the bottom of the rock face and when he turned the corner he was being choked by Farrar. Both fell to the ground and started to roll around, at which time DiPaolo claims he started to lose consciousness. DiPaolo told police he was able to spot a claw hammer on the ground near by and used it to strike Farrar in the head. He continued to hit Farrar until Farrar let go of him, according to documents. DiPaolo stated that he jumped up, threw the claw hammer and ran off.

Police raised questions about why Farrar had wounds on the back of his hands if he was choking DiPaolo the entire time. They suggested that if his story was true, then DiPaolo was swinging the hammer at this own neck, according to documents. DiPaolo apparently had no response to the questions.

In a written statement, DiPaolo expressed remorse. According to court documents, he wrote, "I'm sorry this happened. I didn't want it to happen. I didn't know it was going to happen."


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