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Crime News Breaking News

Initial Person Of Interest In Pennsylvania Teen’s Violent Death Arrested 20 Years Later

Brian Quinn allegedly confessed to at least five different people that he murdered 17-year-old Shamar Washington 21 years ago during a drug robbery gone wrong. 

By Jax Miller
Man Arrested in Pennsylvania Teen’s Violent 2001 Death

Authorities have arrested a man who was reportedly an initial suspect in the murder of a teen whose frozen body was found in rural Pennsylvania in 2001.

Authorities say Brian Gregory Quinn is responsible for the murder of Shamar William Washington, 17, who was beaten, stabbed and then shot to death. Quinn, 44, was arrested in New Jersey by a fugitive task force on March 10, according to a news release from the U.S. Marshals Service.

Washington disappeared on Jan. 5, 2001, and was reported missing by relatives two days later, according to a statement by authorities when they renewed the investigation in January. Troopers with the Pennsylvania State Police said they believed Washington was killed in Williamsport before being transported to rural Columbia County.

Washington’s body was found on Jan. 13, 2001. According to The Associated Press, hunters came upon Washington’s frozen, shoeless body at the bottom of an embankment in Hemlock Township.

State Police said Washington’s cause of death “was ruled a homicide due to multiple different fatal wounds,” according to their news release. Pennlive.com reported that Washington was shot in the back of the head and had his throat slashed.

“It’s the Marshals Services’ duty to ensure that those charged with violent crimes have their day in court,” U.S. Marshal Martin Pane said in the statement. “It is my sincere hope that the victim’s family will find some comfort knowing the suspect will face justice.”

Brian Quinn Salem County Sheriffs Office

Quinn, 24 at the time, was reportedly a suspect in the case back in 2001 and allegedly confessed to five different people over the years, according to an arrest affidavit cited by Pennlive.com.

It was unclear why it took more than 20 years to file charges against Quinn. Requests to multiple agencies involved in the investigation were not immediately returned to Oxygen.com.

The affidavit stated that on March 16, 2001, Quinn asked a friend to borrow his pickup truck for the purposes of moving a body, claiming he and another male robbed a Williamsport drug dealer, according to the Pennsylvania outlet. Quinn told the friend that the victim drew a gun, prompting Quinn and the other individual to wrestle the victim for control of the weapon before shooting him in the head.

When Washington didn’t die from the gunshot wound, Quinn told the friend that he'd repeatedly stabbed the teenager with an icepick before disposing his body near Quiggleville.

Quinn also allegedly told investigators during a jailhouse interview in April 2001 that he’d purchased crack cocaine from the victim in the past. Quinn admitted to borrowing the friend’s truck and stated he heard rumors that someone else murdered Washington.

In 2002, Quinn also allegedly confessed to a woman with whom he was staying at the time that he killed “a Black boy,” according to PennLive. The woman told authorities in 2003 that Quinn claimed to have slit the victim’s throat from ear to ear.

Quinn’s former cellmate and friend also gave an account similar to Quinn’s previous confessions in 2003. In that confession, Quinn had allegedly referred to Washington as “Casper,” which was the victim’s nickname, the affidavit continued.

Still, no arrests were made in the two decades following Washington’s murder, despite Detective Kenneth Mains of the district attorney’s office telling the Williamsport Sun-Gazette in 2015 that there were “good suspects” in the case.

Authorities more recently questioned a former girlfriend of Quinn’s, who had visited him in jail in 2001.

In February, the unnamed woman told investigators that Quinn had claimed his partner “went psycho” before carrying out the “gruesome” murder, according to PennLive. As visitations between visitors and inmates were often recorded, Quinn allegedly confessed to killing “Casper” by writing it on a piece of paper, which the girlfriend then swallowed so as to destroy the confession, the affidavit noted.

“Since 2001, PSP Bloomsburg Criminal Investigation Unit Troopers and Troop N Criminal Investigation Assessment Unit Troopers conducted a significant amount of interviews related to this investigation, including a reevaluation of this homicide in January 2002,” according to the State Police. “This continued investigation led to the Columbia County District Attorney and District Court approving sealed Criminal Homicide charges on Brian Gregory Quinn… on Wednesday, March 9, 2022.”

At around 6:00 a.m. on March 10, Quinn was arrested without incident in Deptford, New Jersey, according to the U.S. Marshals. He is currently awaiting extradition back to Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania State Police stated they would release more information at a later time.

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