State

Merced man was bludgeoned to death with ball-peen hammer

MERCED - Police reported today that Roger David Burnett, 59, was bludgeoned to death with a ball-peen hammer to his head and was stabbed multiple times in the chest, back and neck with at least two weapons.

The hammer and several knives were recovered at the scene.

An autopsy completed Monday morning showed that Burnett was killed by blunt force trauma to the brain. His time of death was approximately 5:30 a.m. Saturday, about 12 hours prior to the discovery of his body.

Police have arrested David John Wickersham, 57, a transient, who walked into Mercy Medical Center Merced on Saturday with what he described as self-inflicted wounds to his left arm. When police arrived, Wickersham said he was concerned that he had done something to hurt his friend.

Officers James Lodwick and John Pinnegar went to a home at 260 E. Main Street, but received no answer at the door. They forced entry into the home and found Burnett dead on the floor in the front room.

Wickersham was then brought in for questioning. He told detectives that he had been recently released on parole from state prison, where was incarcerated for a parole violation. Wickersham would not say why he attacked the victim, police said.

Wickersham was booked into Merced County Jail and charged with murder and violation of parole. He is being held without bail, pending a court appearance.

Anyone with information on this case may call Merced Police Detective Hector Ortiz at 209-385-4705, or the Merced Police Department Tipster Line at 209-385-4725.

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