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One Dies in Oldtown Shooting

March 29th, 2012 by WCBC Radio

One man is dead and a suspect is under arrest after a fatal shooting in Allegany County last night that apparently occurred during an assault that resulted from an ongoing property dispute between two families. 

The victim is identified as Dennis E. Liller, 43, of the 23000-block of Pack Horse Trail, Oldtown, Md.  Liller sustained an apparent gunshot wound to the upper torso.  He was pronounced dead shortly before 8:00 p.m. yesterday at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center.  An autopsy will be conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore. 

The accused is identified as Alexander E. Malaska, 69, of the 23000-block of Pack Horse Trail, Oldtown, Md.  After consultation with the Allegany County State’s Attorney, who responded to the scene, Malaska has been charged this morning with one count of manslaughter.  He is currently incarcerated in the Allegany County Detention Center on $300,000 bond. 

Police were called to the 23000-block of Pack Horse Trail, Oldtown, Md., shortly after 6:30 p.m. yesterday for a report of a shooting.  Police found the wounded victim, who was treated by ambulance personnel and later flown by Maryland State Police helicopter to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center. 

An investigation was initiated by the Combined County Criminal Investigation unit.  The investigation was transferred to the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit and members of C3I continued to assist, as did troopers from the Cumberland Barrack. 

The preliminary investigation indicates that shortly before 6:00 p.m. yesterday, Maryland Natural Resources Police and State Police had been dispatched to the 23000-block of Pack Horse Trail for a dispute over land.  The dispute involved two adjacent properties and had been ongoing since September 2011.  In that incident, Alexander Malaska and Leroy Robertson were unsuccessful in resolving the issue of whose property three trees were on between the two residences. 

Alexander Malaska’s son, Michael, allegedly cut the trees down.  The Robertson’s daughter, Kelly Spangler, applied for criminal charges against Michael Malaska that had been served in October 2011 and are scheduled for court next month. 

Yesterday at about 5:30 p.m., Michael Malaska found “no trespassing” signs posted on the remaining tree stumps.  According to the investigation, he removed the signs and walked to the Robertson home with the signs.  A verbal dispute occurred and police were called. 

Natural Resources Police officers arrived before state troopers and made contact with members of both families.  The situation was thought to have been resolved and officers left the scene. 

The investigation indicates Kelly Spangler was with Dennis Liller when she was notified of the incident by a family member.  She and Liller drove past the Malaska home and confronted Mike Malaska outside his home. 

Witnesses told investigators Dennis Liller and Mike Malaska became involved in a heated argument while standing face to face.  Investigators were told Mike Malaska bumped Liller and Liller punched Malaska in the face and a fight ensued. 

Investigators were told someone went into the Malaska home and notified Alexander Malaska of the ongoing fight.  Witnesses told investigators Alexander Malaska came outside with a rifle and fired as the fight continued.  One shot struck Liller. 

The investigation is continuing.


Andrew Malaska

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