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Suspects charged in beating

Jul. 04, 2013 @ 12:20 AM

HUNTINGTON — Police are looking for information on the whereabouts of two men charged in the beating of a Huntington firefighter.

Those charged are Rhamel Hatcher, 27, and Justin Stahl, 20. Both are charged with felony malicious wounding, said Huntington Police Detective Chris Sperry. The charges stem from a June 20 altercation behind a nightclub in the 1200 block of 4th Avenue.

Hatcher has a previous involuntary manslaughter conviction related to the beating death of a man.

The firefighter, Seth Summers, said he was helping a friend outside of a nearby sporting goods store when he saw a fight begin. He then noticed a man get knocked out and went to render aid.

That's when Summers, 23, said others jumped him from behind. He lost consciousness and woke in an intensive care room with three stab wounds to his stomach, along with bruises and a boot imprint to his face.

Sperry said Summers remained in intensive care for several days before being released from the hospital last week. He has since returned to work on light duty at the Huntington Fire Department, said Fire Chief Carl Eastham.

The actual warrants were not released Wednesday, however Sperry said he was charging both suspects in relation to the beating injuries. The detective said an ongoing investigation will determine who inflicted the stab wounds.

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Hatcher or Stahl should call the Huntington Police Department tip line at 304-696-4444 or its Criminal Investigation Bureau at 304-696-4420.

The new charges come more than a year after Hatcher received the maximum punishment, a 1-year jail sentence, for his role in the beating death of leukemia patient Jeremy Scott Cook. Cook's death led a jury to convict Hatcher of involuntary manslaughter, a misdemeanor that was the least serious charge against three men convicted in the case. Others pleaded guilty to felonies.

Court records link Stahl to five felonies related to an incident from last year, however all of those charges were dismissed as the victim failed to appear, according to Cabell County Magistrate Court.

Eastham said the department has no position in regards to the incident itself as it occurred on Summers' private time. In regards to his role at the fire department, Eastham said Summers would remain on light duty until cleared by a doctor. That will force officials to extend his probationary period to guarantee that he receives the necessary training.

Follow Curtis Johnson at Facebook.com/curtisjohnsonHD and via Twitter @curtisjohnsonHD.



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