Man beaten to death in Elkton grocery store

ELKTON, Md. (WMAR) - Jim Peirce was a welder by trade, before that he served his country in the navy. He had his hobbies, he had his routines, one of them shopping at the Acme grocery store in Elkton.

Just before six Saturday evening, police say 42-year-old Troy Kelly of North East approached Peirce from behind in the Acme store and started beating him.

Detectives feel Peirce was unconscious by the fifth strike, laying in the middle of aisle 8. Court documents show that didn't stop Kelly from striking him another 18 times…but, for what?

"From what we know at this point they never met each other prior to that evening of the event.  It is a shocking case, something you don't see in this community," said Elkton Police Lieutenant Joseph Zurolo.

That may be why a witness trailed Kelly as he left the store and called Elkton police. With the caller's help, officers were able to locate and arrest Kelly on Bridge Street, just around the corner from the grocery store.

Kelly is charged with murder and assault. He was denied bail Monday morning in Cecil County District Court.

"It makes no sense. They didn't know each other. There is not a lot you can say other than it is horrific and we miss him. We really miss him," said Peirce's sister-in-law Yvonne Peirce

Peirce's family is left struggling with the chaotic randomness of all of this.

The Acme surveillance cameras caught the whole incident, but the video can't explain why a stranger would pass another in one aisle only to return to murder him in the next.

It leaves Elkton police searching for a motive while Peirce's family deals with this seeming unrealistic reality.

"Jim was a wonderful guy. He loved his family, his friends. ... He would do anything for anybody.  He wouldn't hurt anybody."

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