Statement of DSG Ruth E. Hook, investigating officer at the scene.


"I arrived at 110 West Park Street at approximately 9:30 pm, Tuesday, October 17, after receiving a call from the dispatcher that a body had been discovered there by fire fighters dispatched to extinguish a fire. The address is that of a three story building which has one apartment on each floor. The stairs and main entrance are common. The second floor apartment, Apartment 2, was the site of the fire and the location of the body. The deceased was tentatively identified as the tenant of the apartment, Samuel Herrick. When I arrived, the fire had already been extinguished by the fire company that responded to the alarm. The victim's apartment had already been somewhat disturbed by the fire fighters; I cleared the area and began the process of securing and recording the crime scene. Photographs and a sketch of the scene as I found it are attached.

To summarize, the victim, Samuel Herrick, was found sprawled on a couch, apparently dead of a self-inflicted gun-shot wound to the right side of his head. The weapon, a .44 caliber handgun registered in the name of Donna Stevens, had fallen to the floor in front of him. On a low table in front of the couch sat a mostly empty bottle of brandy and two glasses, one partly full, one empty (clean and dry). Near them lay what appeared to be the suicide note of the deceased and a black felt-tip pen, which he presumably used to write the note. An ashtray containing three cigarette butts and one burnt match was on the same table; the remains of two cigarette butts were on the floor. They had been burnt in the fire. The fire damage to the room was not very extensive. It was limited primarily to the carpet near the south end of the couch, with some limited scorching of nearby furniture. The door had been forced by fire personnel; it was locked when they arrived on the scene.

I consulted with Fire Chief Leonard Hartman, who gave his opinion that the pattern of the fire did not suggest an accidental ignition. On his recommendation, I took samples of both burned and unburned portions of the carpet in the room. I also conducted a search of the victim's apartment but did not find any flammable liquids, except for the brandy.

Before the body was removed I took handwashing samples to be tested for gun powder residue. The coroner took a blood sample, which I request be analyzed for the alcohol level of the victim at the time of his death.

While I was working in the immediate area of the crime scene, a man outside the apartment building was noticed behaving in a suspicious, paranoid manner consistent with the behavior of someone under the influence of some sort of illegal substance. The man pulled a knife and threatened bystanders with it. Police officer Timothy Larsen arrested the man, Michael Brown. A blood sample was taken to determine the nature of the substance Mr. Brown was using. When Brown was searched, an unidentified packet of white powder was found in his jacket pocket. He initially refused to identify the packet, though later he claimed it was not an illegal drug. No other weapons were found on the suspect. With his consent, handwashing samples were taken from Mr. Brown to be analyzed for gun powder residue. His statement, given at the Oberlin Police Station, is included in this report, as is DSG Larsen's report of the arrest.

Statements were also taken from the victim's neighbors. Mrs. Camilla Berry lives in the apartment above the deceased and is the person who reported the fire. Mr. Richard Neilson, the victim's downstairs neighbor, was at the grocery store from about 8:45 pm until 9:50 pm (verified). Based on information obtained from these statements, DSG Larsen and I then went to the home of Donna Stevens, fiancee of the deceased, and Caroline Stevens, her mother. We notified them of Samuel Herrick's death and took statements from both of them. As a matter of routine, we requested handwashing samples from each woman; they complied with our request. On Wednesday, October 18, we also obtained a statement from a friend of the deceased man, Christopher Gunn. Statements from all these people are attached."