Neighbors Feel Optimistic about Neighborhood after Arrest of Murder Suspect

By: Dave Byknish Email
By: Dave Byknish Email

STAUNTON, Va. -- On Thursday, Dallas Chaplin, a man charged with murder, and police had a nearly four hour stand-off in a neighborhood on West Peabody Street. Police and SWAT teams worked together to get Chaplin to give himself up.

On Friday, the neighborhood was quiet and the only noise was neighbors starting to talk.

“It was scary because I didn't know whether he was going to come out and shoot them or whether they were going to go in and shoot him or something,” said Jane Desper, a neighbor.

Desper lives directly across the street from the house and she said police called her on her cellphone to let her know what was happening. They told her to stay away from windows because all the action happened only a few feet from her living room.

“I picked up books to read and I couldn't concentrate. Anything I did, I couldn't concentrate on it, so I thought well I can pray. I just prayed for the police and for Dallas.”

Desper didn't know who Chaplin was or the people who own the house, but Dennis Napier, another neighbor, said he's all too familiar with them.

“I've seen them out here in the back smoking and taking their drugs. I've also seen them actually doing sex and all that crap. Just nasty people,” said Napier.

Neighbors said it is the type of house that might be empty for weeks, until people need a place to party. Even though there is a crime watch sign near the back yard, neighbors said they would see people pulling what they thought were drugs out from under the porch.

“They did it ever since he was about 11 years old. That's been a bad house ever since the latest husband died. It just turned awful. They just went wild.”

Even though we don't know for sure if Chaplin ever attended those parties neighbors describes, neighbors said they hope his arrest is a first step to cleaning up the neighborhood.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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