Berlin Teen Held On Murder Charge; 17-Year-Old Found Dead Behind Apartments

BERLIN — One Berlin teen has died and another is being held on first-degree murder charges after an apparent fight behind an apartment complex off Route 113 on Wednesday evening.

Maryland State Police (MSP) Homicide Unit investigators have a suspect in custody while actively investigating the murder of a teenage boy in Berlin on Wednesday. The victim has been identified as Dehaven Nichols, 17, of Berlin, who was pronounced deceased by EMS personnel in a wooded area behind an apartment complex. The victim has been transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death.


Vershawn Hudson-Crawford

The accused has been identified as Vershawn Hudson-Crawford, 16, of Berlin. After consultation with the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office, Hudson-Crawford has been charged as an adult with first- and second-degree murder along with other assault charges. Hudson-Crawford had a bail review hearing set for early Thursday morning.

Around 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Hudson-Crawford along with his mother and grandmother went to the Berlin Police Department and reported to police Hudson-Crawford had been involved in a fight. During the course of the conversation, investigators learned the location of the victim and were immediately dispatched to the area where they found Nichols unresponsive, according to police reports.

The preliminary investigation indicated the two teenage boys were involved in an altercation behind an apartment complex off Route 113 in Berlin. A motive has not yet been determined.

The MSP Homicide Unit was requested to respond and take the lead on this investigation.  Additional assistance is being provided by the MSP Criminal Enforcement Division-Lower Shore, MSP troopers from the Berlin barrack, the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation, as well as detectives, officers and deputies from the Berlin Police Department and Worcester County Sheriff’s Office.  State Police crime scene technicians processed the scene.

Investigators have been interviewing witnesses and residents in the area.  Crime scene evidence has been transported to the MSP Forensic Sciences Division crime laboratory for analysis.

Anyone with information about the murder is urged to contact the MSP at the Berlin Barrack at 410-641-3101.  Callers may remain anonymous.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.