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62-year-old man charged in Stafford slaying

A 62-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder following a shooting in the White Oak area of southern Stafford, authorities said.

Mark T. Howsare of Stafford is accused of killing 35-year-old William Conner at his residence on Belle Plains Road late Sunday.

Howsare was taken into custody inside the home at 1:26 a.m. Monday following a lengthy standoff, Sheriff’s Maj. David Decatur said. He was in a bathroom holding a .357-caliber Magnum when he was apprehended, Decatur said.

According to Decatur, the Sheriff’s Office was called at 10:18 p.m. Sunday by a woman who witnessed the shooting and identified a suspect. She told police she heard several shots, then heard Conner scream and stagger away from the home.

A short time later, numerous deputies sped to the home and surrounded it. They found the victim in the yard already dead; he had been shot multiple times.

They searched outside for the suspect for a while because the witness wasn’t sure if he’d left the home or not. A helicopter from the Maryland State Police was called in to assist, Sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy said.

Deputies then spent the next couple of hours trying to contact the suspect inside the home without success. The SWAT team finally entered the home forcibly and found him in a bathroom with a gun, Decatur said.

Howsare was taken into custody without further incident.

According to the initial investigation, Conner was a frequent visitor to the home. He had gone to a local store to return some air mattresses for Howsare, but was unable to do so.

When he returned to the home, he was locked out and an argument ensued. Eventually, the door opened and numerous gunshots were fired, authorities said.

The reason for the argument is unclear, Decatur said.

Howsare is being held in the Rappahannock Regional Jail under no bond.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404



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