05-16-2004, 12:04 PM #1Registered User
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- May 2004
VA - William Mast, 59, Rockbridge County, 20 Jan 1973
Cold Case Date 1/20/1973
Victim's Name William Carson Mast
Description (the following is an excerpt from The Rockbridge Advocate, 1977, owned and published by Doug Harwood.He is also the author of the article these excerpts came from) A bullet in one evidence bag. Two shell casings in another. A gun that doesn't match either in a bag sealed with FBI tape. A copy of an old lab report. An autopsy report. Newspaper clippings the sheriff has copied.
William Carson Mast, whom everyone called "Doc", was shot at the little produce stand he owned on Route 60 just east of Lexington on a mild winter night in January, 1973. He had been in the produce business for years. He started by going door to door, then took to hauling chickens,eggs and hams to Washington. In the mid sixties, he bought the little stand out on Route 60 and moved in from Rockbridge Baths to a trailer behind the stand. He was divorced, one child, and lived by himself. He was known to carry a pocketful of cash with him most of the time because the produce business ran on cash back then. He was killed on a Saturday night during an apparent robbery. He was shot with a .25 calibre automatic in the upper abdomen and died on his way to the hospital. It happened around 7:30 p.m. ( "Nothing else in the small frame building was disturbed. Mr. Mast's body showed no signs of a struggle" said the medical examiner. The part about nothing in the store being disturbed was not accurate, nor was the body showing no signs of a struggle.
One report said Mast was found lying in the doorway, waving for help by a Kentucky couple. The medical examiner's report says he was found by "Holly Brown of South LImestone Street". Because the bleeding was internal, the folks who found him all thought Mast had suffered a heart attack. So did the rescue squad at first. So, apparently, did at least one of the two deputies who first arrived on the scene. If any passers-by heard a gunshot, there's no mention of it in any records. If anyone saw a car peel out, there's no mention of it. If anyone saw an argument between Mast and anyone else, there's no mention of it.
The file on the investigation is missing. When the current sheriff took over a few years ago, the files had been cleaned out of his office. Former department officials said they didn't know what the current sheriff was talking about.The current sheriff has since heard, second hand, that the former sheriff has insisted he left two files on this desk when he left office. ........the other was the Mast file. He further went on to say he can't imagine that anyone would take them away or destroy them.Deputies have gotten copies of old lab reports and the autopsy report from the state. They seem to indicate that the potential evidence was still being gathered more than a year after the shooting.
HERE IS WHAT PEOPLE REMEMBER (as of 1977)
It took some time for deputies to actually secure the crime scene. For a couple of hours after the shooting, neighbors, friends and the curious were traipsing in and out of the stand, possibly smudging what fingerprints there might have been, maybe picking up evidence.
Cartridge casings found at the scene were handled by a bare-handed deputy
They remember that the then sheriff said there was no need to call for help from the state police. He says that's just the way things were back then, local sheriffs handled almost all of the criminal work, state police worked traffic.
People have said they wonder why someone who didn't know Doc carried money would have picked on a small produce stand to rob.
HERE IS WHAT BOTHERS THE FAMILY:
There was no accounting made to them of Doc's personal belongings.
Doc was known to carry a lot of cash on him, none was ever handed over to his brothers. No mention was ever made as to what may have happened to it.
Was his watch stolen? Kept as evidence?
When Doc's sweater was returned to the family, there was a long hair on it. Doc didn't have long hair.
When the brothers were finally allowed to go back into the produce stand after it was sealed, why had investigators apparently not found a billfold that was stashed in a pile of shopping bags (end of excerpt from The Rockbridge Advocate, owner/publisher/author Doug Harwood)?
FROM THE POLICE REPORT:
Writer (Deputy L.E. Teague) arrived at the Mast Produce Stand approximately 7:45 or 7:50 p.m. . On arrival, several people were standing around inside the produce store. One young man introduced himself as Jack from Kentucky. Jack stated that he and his wife and two other couples were on their way home to Kentucky when passing this store we saw this man laying partly in the doorway, waving his arm up and down. This man pointed toward the back of the store and we thought maybe he was trying to tell us something about his medicine. My wife looked for some behind boxes and unable to locate anything I called the Lexington Police and notified them of this man's condition. Jack states he had some medical training and this man appeared to have had a heart attack.....in the meantime, writer was casually looking around the store inside, when he saw and picked up a .25 empty casing. This was partially under a shelf of apples next to a soft drink vending machine, located in front of counter. Writer walked behind counter and found another empty .25 casing, this casing close to cash register or to the bend of the counter. Casings would be in line with each other. Writer found a nickel on the floor in front of cash register and another nickel at end of counter. Writer also observed eye-glasses on shelf under counter folded, laying on a paper bag and newspaper. Writer then called hospital and talked with Dr. Feddaman and learned that Mr. Mast was dead on arrival at hospital-dead from a bullet wound in stomach. At this time, a Arthur and Mark Rt.3, Lexington arrived at store. Writer learned that Mark works for Doc and had left the store around 6 or 6:15 to go home. Mark stated that Doc carried a lot of money on him. Mark states that Doc had to wear his glasses all the time, not like him to take glasses off and put them under counter. Arthur states that he was going home around 7:25 and he looked this way at the store and saw that door was closed and did not see anyone around. Writer had Mark hit release lever on cash register to check contents ( drawer was closed when Writer arrived at store). The cash register drawer contained one compartment of pennies, nickels, no currency. Three cash register keys were locked in place, in down position. At this time Deputy Sheriff Hughes was told by Writer to go to hospital and talk with the group from Kentucky that was at the store when Writer arrived.
Further investigation revealed that victim had been shot with a 25 automatic bullet entering stomach area to the left and going to the right. According to autopsy report, bullet went through Aeorta. Death caused by loss of blood. Bullet was removed and turned over to Writer, which was a 25 calibre. According to information received, Mast always carried a billfold and a considerable amount of money ranging from $1000 up. No signs of scuffle in place of business.
10-12-2009, 04:37 PM #2Registered User
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- Oct 2009
This is my grandfather
Just wondering who Levi is and his reason for posting the cold case of William Carson Mast? Doc was my grandfather. I'd like to know more if possible about this case. Thanks.
10-13-2009, 11:35 PM #3Registered User
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- Sep 2004
11-17-2009, 12:19 PM #4Registered User
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- Oct 2009
I have very little information other than it is believed the identity of the assailant may actually be known and has been for quite some time.
11-17-2009, 04:53 PM #5Registered User
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- Nov 2009
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