Rock Climber Pleads Guilty to Killing Man on Maryland Trail

A Virginia rock climber pleaded guilty Monday to beating another man to death with a claw hammer at a popular rock climbing site in Maryland.

David DiPaolo, 33, of Bristow, Virginia, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release.

According to his plea agreement, on Dec. 28, 2013, DiPaolo argued with Geoffrey Farrar, 68, of Arlington, Virginia, in the parking area of Carderock Recreation Area in Bethesda, Maryland.

DiPaolo struck Farrar in the head with a claw hammer multiple times after the altercation.

Farrar was found with massive head injuries at the bottom of a cliff. He was airlifted to a hospital in Bethesda, where he died later that day.

DiPaolo told investigators in Jan. 2014 that he and Farrar got into an argument in Carderock's parking lot, and that when he later encountered Farrar at the bottom of a cliff, Farrar began choking him.

DiPaolo said the two fell to the ground, and that he reached for a claw hammer, striking Farrar in the head until he let go of his neck, according to a police document.

Witnesses reported seeing DiPaolo running up a trail and leaving in a minivan shortly before they found Farrar's body.

Acquaintances say the two men knew each other for years.

"They were different generations, but one common place that they loved, which was Carderock," said Dave Giacomin, a rock climbing club official previously said.

After his arrest, DiPaolo told police, "I'm sorry this happened. I didn't want this to happen."

Prosecutors said the plea deal calls for DiPaolo to get between 10 and 15 years in prison at his sentencing May 9.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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