The narrow road that twine amidst the rolling hills of Northern Virginia's horse-raising country take one into the peace and quiet of elegant rural life.
News of that area center on horses and rarely does violence fracture the security and pastoral rhythm on the many wealthy horse farms -- especially violence that leaves a man dead and one of his friends accused of murder.
But early Saturday, on the Catoctin Stud Farm north of Leesburg that is owned by multimillionaire horses breeder Bertram Firestone words were spoken and a shot was fired whether it was in anger or in horseplay will be for the jury to decide, but the shot left Steven Douglas Foltz, 21, dead and the farm's manager, Jack Flynn, 34, charged with murder.
According to Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney Donald W. Devine, Foltz and Flynn and several other farm workers had been playing cards in the machine shop of the 1,400-acre farm near Waterford.
When the game ended about 1 a.m., Foltz said he was going to the swimming pool behind Firestone's office on the farm grounds for an early morning dip, Devine said. when Foltz ignored Flynn's order not to go to the pool and climbed into a pickup truck, Flynn allegedly pulled a .38-caliber handgun and fired at Foltz, striking him in the face and killing him, according to the prosecutor.
But Earl Foltz, the father of the victim, said yesterday he was told by an eyewitness that all the men were getting ready to go to the pool and that during some discussion over who would drive the pickup truck to the pool. The shooting accurred.
"I believe it was an accident. There was only one bullet in the gun -- the bullet that killed my son," the father said.
Devine, however, said, "From the evidence we have, it was not accidental. (Flynn) had fired the gun earlier (that night), apparently just for the hell of it, out in the field." Devine said he did not know why Flynn had a gun.
Earl Foltz said that Flynn and his son "were very good friends. They kidded around a lot and had good rapport."
Flynn has been the farm manager at Catoctin Stud for about four or five years, according to one worker at the farm. Foltz had worked there last summer as a laborer during vacation from college in South Carolina. He was presently working as an electrician.
The incident has shocked workers at Catoctin Stud Farm, which is set between the Short Hills and the Catoctin Mountains. The champion 2-year-old colts Honest Pleasure and Optimistic Gal were both trained at the farm. The Firestones, who are not related to the family made wealthy by the rubber company, are out of the country and were not at the farm last Saturday. Firestone's wife, Diana, is an heiress to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune.