By Joe Beck
Frederick County authorities will not charge a Winchester man who strangled another man to death during a New Year's Eve party on Dec. 31.
Capt. Donnie Lang of the Frederick County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday that his office and the Commonwealth's Attorney concluded that Jaquan Harvall, 23, was acting in self-defense while he choked Arthur Ray Harvey, 31, unconscious. Lang said Harvey died at the scene - an apartment in the 100 block of Williamson Road east of Winchester.
Lang said the fight began when Harvall stopped Harvey from what may have turned into a sexual assault against a woman acquaintance of Harvall's.
"There was some indication a sexual assault was going to take place," Lang said. "Mr. Harvey stepped in to prevent anything further from occurring. Then an altercation began between Mr. Harvey and Mr. Harvall, which led to a self-defense type scenario in which Mr. Harvey was put into a chokehold to prevent any further assault on Mr. Harvall.
"From that point, Mr. Harvey went unconscious and was unable to recover. The Commonwealth's Attorney, after reviewing all the information developed from our investigation, determined no one would be charged in the death of Mr. Harvey."
Lang said Harvall had no recorded history of violent offenses at the time of the incident.
Lang said Harvall, the smaller of the two men, choked Harvey from behind with his forearm around Harvey's neck.
Bruises to their faces showed "some indication there were some punches thrown between the two" before Harvall got Harvey in a chokehold, Lang said.
"There was some alcohol involved on Mr. Harvey's part," Lang said of the time leading up to the fight.
Lang said his department will follow up on any additional tips received about the case.
"We're always open to new information, if anybody is willing to provide it, that contradicts information we received and that might lead the investigation in a different direction," Lang said.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org