SALISBURY — A Wicomico County man faces first-degree murder charges this week after allegedly striking and killing his uncle in the head with a blunt object while the pair worked in a watermelon patch near Mardela on Monday.
Shortly before 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a produce farm field on Snethen Church Rd. in Mardela after receiving a 911 call from the scene. Upon arrival, troopers found a man identified as William Harcum III, 31, of Mardela, being treated by paramedics near the entrance to a lane that led back to the farm field.
About a quarter of a mile back down the rural lane, MSP troopers found the body of Lee Harcum, 62, of Salisbury, lying in a watermelon field with obvious trauma to his head. Wicomico EMS personnel pronounced Lee Harcum deceased at the scene. The victim’s body has been transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death.
Troopers called for the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit and the Wicomico Bureau of Investigation to respond to the apparent homicide. Maryland State Police crime scene technicians were also dispatched to collect and process evidence.
Detectives interviewed multiple witnesses and collected evidence from the scene. The preliminary investigation revealed William Harcum and Lee Harcum were picking watermelons in the field when an argument ensued between the two men. Detectives believe William Harcum III used a blunt object to strike his uncle, Lee Harcum, in the head.
Investigators recovered a piece of farm equipment from the scene that has been forwarded to the State Police Forensic Sciences Division Laboratory for analysis to determine if it was used in the assault. While the piece of equipment has not been identified by the MSP, it is reportedly a pin from a tractor coupling.
After consulting with the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office, MSP homicide detectives have charged William Harcum III with first- and second-degree murder and first- and second-degree assault. William Harcum was taken before a District Court Commissioner on Monday and was ordered to be held without bond at the Wicomico County Detention Center.
At a bail review hearing on Tuesday, Harcum was again ordered to be held without bond. A preliminary hearing has been set for Aug. 27.