GREENBELT, Md. — A Bristow, Virginia, man was sentenced Monday to 10 years in federal prison for killing his rock-climbing companion at the Carderock Climbing Area in Montgomery County, Maryland, in December 2014.
David DiPaolo, 31, told U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasanow that he and the victim, 69-year-old Geoffrey Farrar of Arlington, Virginia, were “best friends.”
According to a medical examiner’s report, Farrar suffered 15 skull fractures from a claw hammer.
“We got into a little argument, and I don’t recall what happened,” DiPaolo said standing with slumped shoulders before the judge.
Carderock is renowned for its rock climbing, and Farrar was so well known in its community of climbers, he was called “Carderock Jeff.”
“He loved to climb,” Farrar’s widow Linda Proudfoot told the judge. “He loved to go to Carderock to see people and meet people.”
“I still can’t believe that he’s gone,” she said.
DiPaolo pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. His public defender, Michael Citara Manis called it a “classic example of a heat-of-passion manslaughter case.”
The court was told that DiPaolo had a history of mental illness and drug abuse, and a problem-past that included charges of assault, petty larceny and possession of a firearm.
Citara Manis argued that DiPaolo’s mental illness was a significant factor in the deadly confrontation, but the relationship between the two men also played a role.
Citara Manis said Farrar was “prickly and opinionated” and had a “confrontational personality.”
“Their relationship had soured,” Citara Manis told the judge.
Farrar’s family members and a small group of his rock climbing friends were in the courtroom to witness the sentencing.
The judge also ordered DiPaolo to pay $1,587.52 in restitution for Farrar’s funeral expenses and medical bills.
“I didn’t intend for it to happen,” DiPaolo said. “I didn’t know what was going on.” Then turning to Farrar’s family and friends he said, “I hope you can forgive me.”