- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 4, 2002

OCEAN CITY (AP) Preliminary ballistics tests indicated the bullets that killed a Fairfax couple visiting Ocean City for the Memorial Day weekend came from a gun found on one of the two suspects charged in the case, the Salisbury, Md., Daily Times reported yesterday.
Ocean City Police said they found a loaded Smith and Wesson .357-caliber Magnum revolver in Erika Sifrit's waistband when she and her husband, Benjamin, were arrested May 31.
The bullets that killed Joshua Ford, 32, and Martha Crutchley, 51, definitely were fired from the revolver, sources close to the investigation told the newspaper.
Charging documents also stated that the handgun Mrs. Sifrit was carrying was consistent with the type and caliber of the spent bullets.
Jay Hancock, a spokesman for the Ocean City Police Department, would neither confirm nor deny the report yesterday, saying test results were part of an ongoing investigation.
Mrs. Sifrit told police that her husband chased Mr. Ford and Miss Crutchley into a bathroom at an Ocean City condominium, kicked down the locked door and shot the couple.
Mrs. Sifrit's attorney, Arcangelo Tuminelli, maintained that his client did not participate in the killings.
"At the time these murders occurred, that gun was not in the possession of Erika Sifrit," Mr. Tuminelli said.
After their arrest in connection to an attempted burglary at an Ocean City restaurant, Mrs. Sifrit asked police to retrieve medication from her purse, according to charging documents. In the purse, police found identification belonging to the victims and spent bullet casings.
Last month, Mr. Sifrit's public defender filed a motion seeking to throw out all evidence that was obtained through what he called an illegal search and seizure.
Mr. Tuminelli said Tuesday he planned to file similar motions.
"The police report indicates that the officer went through various parts of her purse and found things other than medication," he said. "There is basis for the motions."
Worcester County State's Attorney Joel Todd has declined to discuss the Sifrits' case but says such defense motions are common.
Last month, a Worcester County grand jury indicted the Altoona, Pa., couple, both 24, on first-degree murder and a series of other charges.
Police said Mrs. Sifrit told them her husband dismembered the bodies and dumped them into a Delaware trash bin. On June 3, remains believed to be those of the missing couple were found in a Delaware landfill.
DNA tests on the remains are pending, Mr. Hancock said. Police have no motive for the slayings.

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