Homicide ruled in man’s death

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 24, 2009

The death of a Vicksburg man Friday night has been ruled a homicide, Sheriff Martin Pace said Saturday.

Shawn Paul Sponholz, 50, 5125 Warriors Trail, died of multiple stab wounds to the neck, Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey said.

Investigators believe Sponholz’s injuries were inflicted at his home, a small cabin he rented on land with another, larger cabin where his landlord lives, but have no solid details about how the killing occurred.

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“Crime scene investigators have been on the scene throughout the night and continuing today,” Pace said Saturday evening. “We have interviewed a number of people and are following leads, but no one has been charged and we have not identified a suspect.”

A toxicology test was done as part of an autopsy performed on Sponholz. Those results will be available in about a week, Huskey said.

Sponholz was taken to River Region Medical Center about 6 p.m. Friday by his landlord, Pace said. He was bleeding profusely and died in the emergency room at 7 p.m.

The landlord was questioned by detectives and released, Pace said.

Sponholz’s mother, Carol Sponholz, a New York resident living in Florida, said he was “a hardworking young man” who had been a fence installer.

He was the second oldest of her five sons, Mrs. Sponholz said.

Her son had two stepsons, 26 and 28, who live in Vicksburg, and a stepdaughter, 23, who lives in Georgia, Mrs. Sponholz said.

One of his step-sons, John Barrett of Deer Ridge Road, said Sponholz was a “good-hearted” man who raised him from the time he was 8. “He’d give you the shirt off his back,” Barrett said. “He taught me about hard work, he taught me about everything.”

Sponholz attended Bowmar Baptist Church and worked at Energy Services International on U.S. 61 South, he said.

Sponholz grew up near Buffalo, N.Y., and attended Lancaster High School. He was on the football and wrestling teams, and enjoyed photography, his mother said.

He moved to Vicksburg one or two years ago, his mother said, because that’s where his stepsons were.

Sponholz’s body will be returned to New York for burial, his mother said.


Contact Pamela Hitchins at phitchins@vicksburgpost.com.