27 year old Sidney Muller

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Harrison County Prosecutor Joe Shaffer says something must be done to rid Clarksburg of “drug infested” communities like the one where a quadruple murder occurred Friday. 

Shaffer said in year’s past Locust Ave. was a “wonderful, residential community.” But he said it’s taken a turn for the worse in the last several years.

“It’s a street that you don’t want to walk down in the daytime, much less after dark,” he said.

Locust Avenue is where police claim Sidney Muller, 24, of Harrison County shot and killed four men Friday.

Shaffer said Muller first shot Christopher Hart, 26, and Todd Amos, 29, both of Clarksburg over a drug deal. He was there to collect a $10,000 debt over some pills.

It’s then alleged Muller shot and killed two other men as he left the scene. Freddy Swiger, 70, and his son Fred, 47, were in the area delivering newspapers.

A Harrison County man and Marine Corps veteran is charged with four counts of first-degree murder for shooting four people, including a father and son who were delivering newspapers, early Friday morning in Clarksburg.


“(They were) working very hard, getting up very early and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Shaffer said Friday on MetroNews “Talkline.”

The shootings happened around 4:30 a.m., said Shaffer, at a home that was a “known drug location” in what had been a nice neighborhood before declining during the past decade.

Investigators said the quadruple murder was “directly related to drug activity.”

“Two individuals were initially shot and, I believe that, as the suspect was exiting the house, he encountered the two innocent people and went ahead and dispatched them as well,” Shaffer said.

Officials with The Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram said the Swigers had been delivering newspapers, seven days a week, for 30 years.

“They were extremely nice, loyal and cared very deeply about their customers.  Further, their customers cared very deeply about them from the calls already this morning (Friday).  They built a connection with people that was unique and special in every regard,” said Brian Jarvis, president of the Exponent-Telegram.

“We hope justice will be served as soon as possible for this heinous and senseless act.”

Shaffer said Hart’s mother lives next door and went to her son’s house when she heard the gunshots. At that time, Hart was still alive and reportedly told his mother the name of the shooter.

Muller was arrested Friday after questioning from Clarksburg police detectives. He was stopped at the White Hall McDonald’s in Marion County soon after the shootings following the release of an alert for his vehicle.

Clarksburg City Council member Patsy Trecost said his community is mourning. “Without a doubt, our thoughts and our prayers are with their families,” said Trecost. “It’s just an unhappy conversation we’re having and a lot of sorrow is going out throughout the whole community.”

Video courtesy Ben Queen Photography

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  • Brad

    Who writes these headlines?

    • wvrefugee

      Just like the original article from yesterday. I wonder when Hoppy will chime in to scold us for pointing out the mistakes??????

  • Vinnie

    "Drug Invested"....could it be "Drug infested"?
    Proofreading would be helpful.

    • Habib Haddad

      Everyone knows the "investments" drug dealers make in their community and the good they do. Heck awhile back, a group of meth-heads paid my child's way to science camp. Guess what he learned to make?

  • leroy j gibbs

    No excuses! Nothing excuses this! NOTHING!

  • Jim smith

    Yeah you know what your money paid for? For him to go do 5 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan! His PTSD was so bad after this last tour he was having seizures he went to the VA for help and they pumped him full of pills then his benefits got messed up and they turned him away. I'm not defending him killing 2 innocent victims and 2 drug dealers but there are other circumstances in this case to consider before spouting hateful mean things about someone who risked their life for your freedom for 5 years.

    • Shadow

      What is it about PTSD that caused you to murder four people? I can understand the possible need for drugs to calm you but when you start making money from the sale of drugs you have gone too far. I have known vets from WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam (One, a POW for five years in the Hanoi Hilton) and they had trouble adjusting but none were drug dealers or murders. Your plea is falling on deaf ears.

    • lee arthur

      Jim he took four lives , nothing can condone that.

    • Joe

      I'm a vet, too, Jim....a Vietnam vet.... who had 3 tours of combat duty. Not buying or accepting one thing you say. There are 100s off thouands of vets with varying levels of combat trauma, some less, some worse. Difference is they don't shoot up innocents and are not drug dealers.

    • Rich

      Sorry Mr Smith. Yes, you are defending him.

  • Joe

    From today's paper....this is what you all and I support with our hard-earned tax money. Take a good look around the next time you are in line at your local convenience store and you just get more and more disgusted:

    "Muller said he wasn’t working, but was a full-time student. He also said he had been divorced Thursday, but hadn’t yet received the decree. Muller told the magistrate he has two children, ages 4 and 2.

    Additionally, he said he receives $1,752 in Veterans Affairs disability benefits each month, had $400-$500 cash on hand during his arrest, and has no money in checking or saving accounts. Muller also said no one owes him money.

    The defendant said he has a 2012 Buick Verano costing $42,000 after taxes titled in his name, making a car payment of about $400 each month.

    His girlfriend pays utilities, and he pays $464 in child support, Muller said.

    The defendant also said he has a bill from WVU Healthcare for around $13,000".

  • GregG

    Now can we bring the death penalty back to WV. I've had enough of hand slapping, home confinement and drug rehab.

  • Joe

    Wow, what a surprise. Prior to the mugshot being posted, the news story description of the accused made me think he was....taller.

  • Arc Angel

    First.... Pray for those innocent fellows family....
    Second... I used to live in a drug infested crime ridden neighborhood till me and my neighbors teamed up and we let those low life's know that this is our neighborhood and we let them know we were protected by the Good ole Boy Club ..instead of these criminals intimidating us...we intimidated them. They are cowards and try to use the night .. But we used the night to our advantage The low life's got the message rather quickly and in a little over a month we could let our kids play outside again...

    • rose

      Good for you and your courageous neighbors.

      Everyone loses in this situation....too bad.

    • Shadow

      Remember the Missouri case where the Area Bully got shot in plain daylight and no one saw a thing. When you have no Law and Order, vigilantes take over and settle the problem. How close are we to that situation on the drug problem?

      • Tom

        Ken Rex McElroy was his name I think.

      • Jonus Grumby

        That's all well & good until someone not connected get taken out. Happened in Florida recently where a vigilante intended to wipe out sexual predators in the area. He killed one but ended up killing the perps wife as well... because she was there.

        • Shadow

          Surely, an unfortunate situation. I never heard of the case but it seems that the law was not protecting the children in the area and someone felt he/she had to protect them.

  • Larry

    What a senseless tragedy for the two paper carriers, I have never understood the whole, "you owe me money, I'm going to kill you, and definitely never get paid, and go to prison for the rest of my life", how incredibly stupid.

  • Joe

    Why hasn't a mugshot or photo of the accused been issued?!

  • Marissa Kiddy

    WOW! Praying for all of the families, medics and FD that responded. The PD knew this was a "known drug house" and did nothing. The kids in that community need more support. The PD and city need to help the youth before we loose more kids and innocent neighbors. Not everyone in that neighborhood are drug dealers.

  • Greg

    The neighborhood has declined over the past decade. Reading comprehension.

  • Brad

    We badly need a death penalty.

  • Rich

    Wow! Shaffer knew this was a known drug location for the last decade and was doing nothing about it.

    • becca

      Not surprised!

    • Sam

      It's the job of the Federal Drug Task force. It's what they spend millions of our tax dollars on. He can't do his job by prosecuting them until they do theirs. Know facts before making comments.

      • Max

        Hey Sam, there are probably 40 of the same "drug houses" in Harrison County, probably half of them in Clarksburg. We have "family courts" and now "drug courts" and the newest is the "drug juvenile courts"...let's just face it...we're toast as a society and a culture. There aren't enough people on the Federal Drug Task Force to surveil every drug house operating anywhere in this county. Can't blame the cops, prosecutor or the judges...look in the mirror, it's all of us who are responsible. My opinion, start in the schools and let teachers have free reign to control their classrooms and demand accountability from kids.

      • Rick

        Rich, I am with you. I don't know how things work in Harrison County, but in the Northern Panhandle the county sheriff and local police have the authority to take action against drug dealers -- and they do it.

        I might not be as knowlegeable about the criminal justice system as Sam and Mac, but up here I work with the police and I know what they do and know that they take action. And those are facts.

        • Rich

          Thank you Rick. That is exactly what I was talking about. I did not understand the comments that Shaffer made and he not be held responsible for his failure to take some action for his own words "known drug location". I just refuse to believe that the prosecutor of Harrison county has no influence on what happens in his county. Is he doing a great job as prosecutor or not? It seems to me that the drug problem in Harrison county is only getting worse.

      • Rich

        You are telling me that Shaffer knows about a known drug location and he has no says in what happens in his county? I don't believe that for one second.

        • Mac

          That's because you have no understanding of how our criminal justice system works. (When it actually does work)

  • David F

    Execute him (if he's convicted of course).

    • Habib Haddad

      No death penalty in West Virginia. That could change however, as the Mountain State turns more red.