Aide to U.S. Senator Jim Webb found dead from apparent gunshot wound
By Dan Casey
Authorities in Botetourt County this morning discovered the body of a well-known Democratic operative and U.S. Senate aide along U.S. 220, dead from an apparent gunshot wound.
The body of Frederick W. Hutchins Jr., 26, of Roanoke was found shortly after 7 a.m. along southbound U.S. 220 by a Botetourt County deputy who had stopped to check on a vehicle parked on the highway's shoulder, according to the sheriff's office.
Hutchins was an aide to U.S. Senator Jim Webb, D-Va.
Hutchins had been shot in the head, and a gun was found beneath his body, Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle said. The sheriff added that the official cause of death would be determined by the state medical examiner.
Hutchins' body was outside the car, which was north of Fincastle, on a small embankment beside the road. Sprinkle said the death occurred between 4:30 a.m., when an officer passed the scene and no vehicle was present, and 7:08 a.m., when another officer stopped to check on the parked vehicle.
Before joining Webb's office, Hutchins was an aide to state Del. Onzlee Ware, D-Roanoke.
This afternoon, Ware said he first met Hutchins at a political rally at the Roanoke City Market in 1993. The 13-year-old Hutchins declared that Ware was going to run for office one day, and that Hutchins would be his campaign manager, Ware recalled. Ten years later, it happened.
Hutchins was always loyal, Ware said. “Fred stuck with me,” he said. “And there were times I know he was called a n-----lover because he stuck with me, a black man.”
They'd talked about the future, Ware said. “We always said there’d be another campaign to come,” he said. “I’d run for another office and he again planned to be my campaign manager."
Ware teared up, then continued: “I don’t question what God does. He left Fred here for a short time and he did things most people don’t get to do in a lifetime.”
Senator Jim Webb today issued a statement about Hutchins' death: “I am terribly saddened by the tragic and sudden death of Fred Hutchins, who diligently managed our Roanoke Senate office. Freddie was one of the most honorable and friendly individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing. He was a mainstay in the Roanoke community and a friend to all who knew him. My condolences go out to his mother, Karen, and the rest of his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.”