“We have found new evidence in the Cripple Creek, Va., area,” said Sheriff Richard A. Vaughan of Grayson County. “At this point, we do not want to disclose the exact nature of this evidence.”
On Jan. 27, officers with the Virginia State Police, along with other law enforcement officials, searched a property on Cripple Creek Road in Wythe County, Va. Frederick P. Hammer, the suspect in the triple murders, owns a fifth-wheel camper that is located on this property.
Authorities found evidence of a recent visit to the camper, including fresh water in the shower. They also found clothing that had been soaked in kerosene and then burned in a fire pit near the camper.
According to a property receipt filed on Jan. 28 by Agent M.A. McClananan of the Virginia State Police, authorities seized a variety of items at the camper site. These included traces of the substance (possibly kerosene) used to burn the clothing; a shell casing; metal shoe eyes; several pieces of burnt fabric; a “large pile of burnt debris”; hair fibers from the shower; and a white loofa scrub from the shower. Part of the plumbing from the bathroom and bedroom was evidently also removed.
Two attorneys, along with an investigator, have been appointed by the Commonwealth of Virginia to represent Hammer in this case.
Unlike North Carolina, Virginia has a statewide system of public defenders to represent defendants unable to afford legal counsel. This includes four offices that deal only with capital cases. Hammer’s attorneys work at the Christiansburg, Va., office of the Capital Defender. One of the attorneys is Steve Mulaney; we were unable to confirm the name of the second one by press time.