A Berkeley Springs man serving a 321-year prison sentence following a 1993 crime rampage that included the rapes of two West Virginia women has confessed to strangling a Berkeley Springs woman in 1982 and putting her body in the Potomac River near Berkeley Springs, officials with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.
Randy McBee confessed to the strangulation of Ginger Holly Gregg, who was 20 years old at the time, during an interview Tuesday with Lt. Tim Stapleton of the sheriff’s office at the Mount Olive Correctional Complex, according to a sheriff’s office news release.
Gregg, who lived at 308 Congress St., was found floating in the rain-swollen Potomac River about seven miles south of Sharpsburg by an Army helicopter pilot, according to a June 17, 1982, story in The Morning Herald.
The pilot kept Gregg’s body in sight, and the badly decomposed body was pulled out of the river near Sandy Hook, according to news accounts.
Stapleton said in a telephone interview Thursday that his department has been investigating cold cases from the 1980s and 1990s, and he believes McBee heard about the sheriff’s office’s work on the investigations.
McBee sent a letter to the Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office earlier this month and stated in the letter that he wanted to talk to authorities, Stapleton said.
Stapleton declined to say if McBee was remorseful when he interviewed McBee on Tuesday about Gregg’s death, but Stapleton said McBee simply wanted to “get it off his conscience.”
“He was very descriptive and very cooperative,” Morgan County Sheriff Vince Shambaugh said.
Stapleton said McBee’s account regarding Gregg’s death is credible and matched the circumstances surrounding her disappearance. It appears McBee and Gregg were “hanging out” when she disappeared, Stapleton said.
The sheriff’s office will forward information on its investigation of Gregg’s death to the Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Stapleton said. Stapleton said he is not certain what will happen beyond that.
“This is kind of unique for us,” Stapleton said.
When Gregg’s body was found, former West Virginia State Police Trooper Preston Gooden said at the time that the cause of Gregg’s death had not been determined and that investigators had not ruled out foul play.
McBee received a 321-year sentence following a crime rampage in Morgan County that included the rapes of two women and breaking into the home of two men. McBee bound and gagged the men, took their money, washed his clothes and took a shower. McBee then untied the men and forced them to cook him dinner, according to published news accounts. McBee later drove off with one of the victim’s cars.
A few days later, McBee was captured in a bar along Rock Cliff Drive in Martinsburg, W.Va., Shambaugh said.
The rampage occurred after McBee walked away on March 23, 1993, from a pre-release center in Church Hill, Md., where he was nearing the end of a five-year burglary sentence at the facility.
After his escape from the facility, McBee broke into a Church Hill home twice, taking two handguns and ammunition. For three days, he hid in and around Church Hill before he broke into a Church Hill home and raped an elderly woman, according to news accounts.
McBee then headed for West Virginia and ditched a stolen car near Hancock along the way, according to news accounts. McBee was sentenced to life in prison for the Maryland crime spree. McBee will not start serving the life term until he finishes his West Virginia sentence.
When authorities searched for McBee in West Virginia following his escape, the search dominated the news for an extended period in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle, Shambaugh said.