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Rock Climber Charged In Friend’s Death At Md. Park

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Mary Bubala joined WJZ in December 2003. She now anchors the 4-4:30...
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POTOMAC, Md. (WJZ) –Authorities say an argument between two rock climbers ended with one of them dead. Police say the two had known each other for years and now the man in custody says he acted in self-defense.

Mary Bubala has the story.

Geoffrey Farrar, 68, was a fixture at Carderock Park in Potomac, Md.

He climbed rocks without the safety of a rope, so when his body was found at the base of a cliff on Dec. 28, it was believed he took a tragic fall.

“Even though he’s an amazing climber, knew this rock inside and out, there’s a good chance something could have happened,” said David Giacomin with the American Alpine Club.

But U.S. Park Police later learned it was no accident.

When they arrested another climber, 31-year-old David DiPaolo, last Thursday and charged him with killing Farrar, the local rock climbing community was left reeling.

“We all know Dave very well, and we all know Geoff very well. They have known each other for years and years and years, and it was a total shock,” Giacomin said.

Court records detail what police believe happened that day at the rock.

Witnesses told them they saw Farrar and DiPaolo arguing in the parking lot.

One witness later found Farrar with major head trauma and saw DiPaolo running up the trail.  During questioning, DiPaolo told police Farrar choked him.

“And that’s when he found a silver-colored claw hammer on the ground nearby, used it to strike the victim in the head,” the suspect statement reads.

He went on to say, “I’m sorry this happened. I didn’t want it to happen.  I didn’t know it was going to happen.”

Police say DiPaolo fled the state and was caught during a routine traffic stop in Glens Falls, N.Y.

He is still there waiting extradition back to Maryland to face charges.

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