Victim in recent attack found dead in Berryville

Thursday, October 25, 2012

BERRYVILLE -- Police are investigating an unattended death after the body of Jesse Kurczek, 28, of Berryville was discovered at 6:34 a.m. this morning, Oct. 25, at 205 Phillips St. in Berryville, authorities said.

A police spokeswoman said that dispatch had received a call of an unresponsive male at that address, and when Officer Cody Boren responded, he found Kurczek to be deceased.

His body has been sent the State Medical Examiner for an autopsy, which is routine for any unattended death, said the police spokeswoman, who asked to remain unnamed because the investigation is ongoing and few details are being released at this time.

It has not been classified as a "suspicious" death at this time, as the investigation has just begun, she said.

Kurczek just a few weeks ago was the victim in a violent altercation at 901 Jefferson St. in which he was pistol-whipped by another Berryville man, police have said.

Justin Bernard Aquino, 33, was arrested and charged with first-degree battery, aggravated assault, possession of a controlled substance, simultaneous possession of drugs and a firearm and terroristic threatening.

Kurczek had told police that day that a man, identified as Aquino, had attacked him with a 9mm handgun, police said in an Affidavit of Warrant issued by Carroll County Circuit Court. Kurczek suffered numerous cuts, scratches, swelling and bleeding to his face and head, the affidavit said.

During the scuffle, a tenant of the apartment complex heard banging on her door and opened it; the two men were fighting and when the door opened Kurczek attempted to get inside away from the attacker, the affidavit said. The tenant was able to push both men outside, close the door and contact authorities.

Upon the arrival of the officer, he attempted to make contact with Aquino at his apartment, but Aquino did not answer the door. The officer could see a man believed to be Aquino through the window and called for backup.

Officers also made contact with the apartment owner to gain access to the apartment. When backup arrived and the officers were preparing to enter the apartment, Aquino opened the door.

As a protective sweep was made through the apartment, a 9mm handgun was seen on a table, the affidavit stated. A search warrant was obtained from Berryville District Court, and a fully loaded semi-automatic pistol and drug paraphernalia were seized, the affidavit said.

Aquino was later released from the Carroll County Detention Center on $7,500 bond.

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