MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The husband of the victim in last week’s home invasion on the 300 block of Chestnut Street is speaking out about the day he discovered his wife severely beaten inside her bedroom.
One neighbor called it “a vicious, uncalled-for beating I don’t even think a young man could recover from.”
Michael Maphis, 53, has been in a relationship with his wife, Janet, since they were “14 or 15.” Tying the knot 34 years ago, he and Janet have been together in sickness and through health, as for at least the past four years she has suffered from liver and back issues, causing her to be bedridden and being forced to walk with a cane, Maphis said.
“We don’t know how much time she has left,” Maphis said. “She didn’t want to undergo cat scans or anything like that, because she didn’t want to know her live to date. … She wanted to live her days out and when she went, she went.”
Maphis described his wife as a “good hearted person,” somebody who was devoted to her five grandchildren and her “fluffy dog.” Prior to her ailments, Maphis said Janet even took needy kids in the neighborhood back to school clothes shopping.
“She’d still find a way to take care of friends and family, even after she got sick,” Maphis said.
But on Sept. 16, when Maphis returned home from work as a residential electricity instructor at James Rumsey Technical Institute, he said he found the front porch light on, which was odd.
“She religiously turned off the light whenever she let out the dog,” Maphis said. “I thought at first maybe she forgot, but then I saw the door was cracked.”
Maphis said after he opened the storm door, he spotted bloody fingerprints on the interior door, as if someone was attempting to grab it from the floor. Following a trail of blood, Maphis said he found Janet on the floor in their bedroom, wrapped in a blanket.
“I thought she was dead,” Maphis said. “I yelled, ‘Janet! Janet! Janet!’ and then she took her breath. She said, ‘The Meat Man came to the house, punched me in the face, then started kicking me, and kicking me, and kicking me, and kicking me.’ Every time she said that, she started crying harder and harder.”
The “Meat Man,”according to detectives with the Martinsburg Police Department and Maphis, was Roger William Hite, 45, of no fixed address. After police received a call from Maphis at 3:15 p.m. the day of the alleged attack, a warrant states detectives tracked down leads across town, apprehending Hite the following day.
According to Maphis, over the last three months, Hite visited his residence approximately 15 times in the evening, attempting to sell meat, which he only bought a few times. After the Sept. 16 incident, Maphis said he learned from the police that the meat may have been stolen from local grocery stores.
Hite is currently being held on a $150,000 cash-only bond at the Eastern Regional Jail on multiple felony charges in connection with the incident. Captain George Swartwood said while an arrest has been made, the police are still actively investigating the incident.
While the police investigation is underway, Maphis said his wife is being treated at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax County, Virginia, where she is in critical condition. According to Maphis, Janet is suffering from a server concussion and a fractured back as a result of the injury and is currently being sustained on life support.
“Everyone who knows me, knows her, know our family, they are praying for her,” he said. “She didn’t deserve this.”
-Staff writer Henry Culvyhouse can be contacted at 304-263-8931, ext. 251, or twitter.com/HCulvyhouseJN.