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Man charged with murder in Stafford County

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A 62-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder following a shooting late Sunday in the White Oak area of southern Stafford County, police said.

Mark T. Howsare of Stafford is accused of killing 35-year-old William Conner at his residence in the 600 block of Belle Plains Road. Howsare was taken into custody inside the home at 1:26 a.m. Monday following a lengthy standoff, Sheriff’s Maj. David Decatur said. Howsare was in a bathroom holding a .357-caliber Magnum when he was apprehended, police said.

Decatur said the Sheriff’s Office was called at 10:18 p.m. Sunday by a woman who witnessed the shooting and named Howsare as the suspect. She told police she heard several shots, then heard Conner scream and stagger away from the home.

A short time later, numerous deputies sped to the home and surrounded it. They found the victim in the yard already dead; he had been shot multiple times.

They searched outside for Howsare for a while because the witness wasn’t sure if he’d left the home or not. A helicopter from the Maryland State Police was called in to assist, Sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy said.

Police then spent the next couple of hours trying to contact Howsare inside the home without success. The SWAT team finally entered the home forcefully and found the suspect in a bathroom with the gun. He was taken into custody without further incident.

According to the initial investigation, Conner was a frequent visitor to the home. He had gone to a local store to return some air mattresses for Howsare but was unable to do so.

When he returned to the home, he was locked out. An argument ensued at the door, police said, and eventually Howsare is accused of opening the door and opening fire on the victim.

Numerous shots were fired and some of them struck Conner, police said.

The reason for the argument is unclear, Decatur said.

Howsare is being held in the Rappahannock Regional Jail under no bond.

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