According to a probable cause affidavit released this morning by the Washington County Prosecutor’s Office, Joe Hamble, 29, 1023 Aspen Drive, Apartment 13, told officers he used a .32 caliber handgun to kill a Salem man at 304 West Small Street.
He also said he accidentally shot a Salem woman — whom he was related to — when he went to the home early Saturday morning because he believed they were dealing drugs there.
Hamble was arrested by the Indiana State Police early Saturday evening and charged with Murder, Two Counts, both Felonies, for the deaths of Valerie E. Dicus, 37, and Joseph R. Hobson, 36.
He is currently in jail at the Washington County Detention Center in Salem. The only item on Hamble’s record is a speeding ticket infraction from Dec. 2009.
A 17-year old identified only as “RJS” who was a passenger with Hamble and was waiting outside the 304 West Small Street home, told police he heard gunshots inside the home and when Hamble returned to the car, Hamble allegedly told the teen that he “just took care of one of Washington County’s biggest drug problems,” and had shot Dicus in the head.
Also, upon learning of the investigation on Saturday, Salem Police Department Detective Ronnie Mays contacted the ISP and reported that a man had appeared on his porch on Friday, August 19.
When Mays opened the door, he observed the man standing on his porch wearing a gun on his side.
Mays advised that the man told him he was related to Valerie Dicus and that he had a nephew living in the 304 West Small Street house with Dicus and that drugs were being dealt there.
Mays said the man also told him he wanted to do something about the drug problem in Salem.
Mays told police that he knew the man lived in Aspen Meadows Apartments but couldn’t recall his name.
Detective Mays notified the state police a few hours later and said he had recalled the name of the man at his house – Joe Hambel.
Indiana State Police Detectives Scott Stewart and Dave Mitchell contacted Aspen Meadows Apartments and identified Hambel’s location.
Detective Mitchell went to the apartment on Saturday and asked Hambel to come to the Washington County Sheriff’s Department for questioning.
During the interview, Hambel advised he had driven to the Small Street home and had gotten out of his car, walked around the house and looked in the windows and touched the door.
According to police, Hembel then agreed to a search of his apartment and signed a content to search form.
Detective Mitchell also requested a search warrant and took Hambel back to his apartment.
While at the apartment awaiting the warrant, Hambel said he needed to use the restroom in his apartment.
Detective Mitchell said he could do that but first wanted to check to make sure there were no weapons and no evidence to be destroyed.
Hambel agreed and Detective Mitchell looked in the restroom and found a .32 caliber handgun.
Mitchell returned Hambel to the Washington County Sheriff’s Department to continue the interview where he was read his Miranda Rights and Hambel agreed to continue to be interviewed.
Hambel advised he had the .32 caliber handgun and a 9mm handgun when he went to 304 West Small Street early Saturday morning.
Hambel told police he looked in the window and saw Dicus and a man inside the house. He told police he went inside the house to scare the two.
At that time, Hambel got into a struggle with Hobson, who took the .32 caliber handgun away from Hambel.
Hambel told police he was able to get the .32 handgun back from Hobson and shot Hobson several times.
Salem Police Officer Chad Webb was first to arrive on the scene Saturday morning and found Hobson on the floor with blood on his arm and torso and also on the floor by his body. Webb observed .32 shell casings lying around on the floor but was not able to locate the gun.
Hambel told Mitchell during the interview that he never shot Dicus.
Mitchell interviewed Hambel again on Sunday, August 21 and Hambel gave a similar account but this time said while he was taking the .32 handgun away from Hobson it went off and struck Dicus.
Hambel confirmed to police that the .32 handgun found in the bathroom was the gun used to shoot both Dicus and Hobson.
Officer Webb found Dicus lying on the floor of the living room with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head.
Detective Josh Banet interviewed 17-year-old “RJS” who admitted to being with Hambel on the night of Friday, August 19 into the morning of Saturday, August 20.
According to the probable cause affidavit, “RJS” said that Hambel drove and he was in the passenger seat.
The two went to 304 West Small Street twice.
“RJS” said the first time Hambel got out of the car and walked around the residence, then returned to the car and the two left.
“RJS” said the second time, Hambel got out of the car and entered the residence.
According to police, “RJS” he then heard multiple gun shots and saw Hambel come out of the side door of the residence and get back into the car.
“RJS” said Hambel told him that “he just took care of one of Washington County’s biggest drug problems” and that he had shot Valerie [Dicus] in the head.
Hambel’s initial hearing is set for Tuesday August 23rd at 11a.m in Washington Circuit Court.
No bond has been set.