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Man sentenced in stabbing

February 04, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

Convicted batterer Albert Leon Monroe stood before Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell Monday morning and asked for a new trial, accusing his attorney of botching his case.

But McDowell, familiar with the circumstances of the June 16 stabbing, denied the request.

McDowell then sentenced Monroe to nine years in prison after the judge decided that an agreed five-year cap was unacceptable.

"Who did I kill?" Monroe said angrily as he was led from the courtroom.

Monroe said he had no idea who stabbed the victim that night, a claim McDowell discounted.

"You already got a substantial break from your attorney," Michael Morrissette, McDowell said, noting that Monroe originally had been charged with assault with intent to murder.

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He entered an Alford plea to battery on Nov. 21 in connection with the stabbing that sent the victim to the hospital for four days.

Monroe, 39, of Hagerstown, told McDowell in November that he wouldn't admit guilt to the charge but acknowledged that the state had enough evidence to prove its case - the key element of an Alford plea.

Charges of assault with intent to murder, carrying a deadly weapon, reckless endangerment and assault were dropped in exchange for the plea.

The victim, Jeffrey Lynn Washington, 35, of Hagerstown, had been hospitalized with a stab wound to the lower left back.

Police reports indicate Washington had been walking along the 200 block of North Jonathan Street when a man approached him from behind and accused him of "messing with his woman."

An argument ensued, and Washington was stabbed, police said.

He walked to the hospital for treatment of his injuries, which included a collapsed lung, police said.

Monroe is on parole for distribution of cocaine and faces six years for that conviction, court records said. His prior criminal record also includes theft and armed robbery, court records said.

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