Saturday, May 22, 2010
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Suspects in Roanoke killing arrested in South Carolina

Meghan Musser and Justin Musser have been charged with the death of Harold Markham, 80.

Justin Musser, 23, and his wife Meghan Musser, 20, are charged with murder in the death of Harold Markham, who neighbors said was beaten inside his Southeast Roanoke home early Tuesday.

Justin Musser, 23, and his wife Meghan Musser, 20, are charged with murder in the death of Harold Markham, who neighbors said was beaten inside his Southeast Roanoke home early Tuesday.

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A woman charged in the slaying of an 80-year-old Roanoke barber told a friend that she tried to get help for the victim and that neither she nor her husband hurt the man.

Meghan Melissa Musser, 20, phoned a friend in Roanoke on Thursday before she and her husband, Justin Lyn Musser, 23, were arrested in Jasper County, S.C., said the friend, Paul Heber. The couple were charged with murder in the death of Harold Markham, who boarded them in his home in the 1200 block of Dale Avenue in Southeast Roanoke.

"She said they didn't do it," said Heber, who has known Meghan Musser since he hired her to clean his apartment about a year ago.

The house was full of people early Tuesday when Markham was assaulted, Heber said he was told by Meghan Musser. She said she tried to help Markham, but other people in the house stopped her, Heber said.

Heber said he didn't know whether to believe the story.

"She's a sweet girl, but she's a con artist, too," he said.

Meghan Musser and Justin Musser both were fond of drinking and drugs, Heber said, and both had foul tempers.

A neighbor who said he was inside Markham's house at the time said trouble began when the Mussers demanded to borrow the man's Subaru to pick up a friend.

The neighbor, Donnie Duncan, 21, said he ran to his house across the street to tell his mother to phone 911 after hearing Markham say, "Stop! Stop or I'll call the police."

Meghan Musser was laughing and smiling, saying, "We killed the old man," when he returned, Duncan said.

A beating left Markham with bruises, cuts and scratches on his neck and face, Duncan's mother, Sandra Thorton said. Markham died at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Police haven't commented on the cause of death.

The Mussers fought in the street, then escaped before police arrived, Thorton said.

They were arrested Thursday in South Carolina by the local sheriff's department. Roanoke police and U.S. Marshals located the Mussers and asked local authorities to make the arrest, Roanoke police said Friday. The couple were jailed in South Carolina.

Heber said Meghan Musser often confided to him about wanting to leave her husband, who she said was abusive, and about their daughter, who Heber said is 3 or 4 years old and lives with a relative.

Meghan Musser told Heber she bathed and fed Markham, he said.

"She didn't mind it at all," Heber said. "She liked that kind of stuff."

Markham worked six nights a week at an adult video store on Williamson Road and gave $4 haircuts in his living room. The Mussers had been boarders in his home for about a month, neighbors said.

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