Rock climber accused of killing friend with claw hammer

A Virginia man has been charged with manslaughter after admitting to killing a fellow climber with a claw hammer last month.

31-year-old David DiPaolo was arrested in upstate New York last week. Police say he fled there after killing Geoffrey Farrar, 69, of North Arlington, Va.

Farrar's body was found December 28 in Carderock Park in Maryland. Officials said Farrar was discovered lying across a wooden beam at the base of the 35-foot tall rock face. He had suffered "massive head trauma."

At first, authorities believed Farrar had died in a climbing accident. But the medical examiner noted the lack of extensive wounding consistent with a fall, saying the experienced Farrar only suffered injuries to his head and hands.

Further, a witness told U.S. Park Police an hour before the discovery of the victim that Farrar had been in a verbal altercation with DiPaolo in the parking lot nearest to the climbing area.

According to a police report, DiPaolo told detectives that he and Farrar were hiking with two mutual friends when they got into an argument. DiPaolo said the older man began choking him on the trail and the two fell to the ground. The younger man said he then "found" a claw hammer, struck Farrar in the head, then fled the scene.

A spokeswoman in the U.S. Attorney's office in Baltimore told WTTG that DiPaolo did not object to being transported back to Maryland to face the manslaughter charge.

Click for more from