Hambel accused of murder, "taking care of a drug problem"

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The man accused in the shooting deaths of two Washington County resdidents early Saturday morning allegedly told a teenager who was with him, “I just took care of one of Washington County’s biggest drug problems.”

Valerie E. Dicus, 37, and Joseph R. Hobson, 36, were found shot to death in a Salem residence, 304 W. Small St., early Saturday morning. Joe Paul Hambel, 29, has been arrested and charged with two counts of murder in connection with the deaths.

The teen, a 17-year-old who is identified only by initials in the probable cause affadavit, said he was with Hambel on Friday night and into the early morning hours Saturday. He told officers he was a passenger in the car when Hambel drove to 304 W. Small St. twice.

Upon learning of the death investigation, Salem City Police Officer Ronnie Mays contacted investigating officers to tell them of a strange encounter he had on Friday. The probable cause affadavit says a man knocked on his door while he was at home. When he opened the door, Mays saw the man was wearing a handgun.

The man told Mays he was related to Valerie Dicus and that he had a nephew in Dicus’ home on Small Street where he said drugs were being dealt. He told Mays he wanted to do something about the drug problem in Salem. Mays later realized that man was Hambel.

See tonight’s issue of The Salem Leader for a more in-depth story.

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