Teen to be tried as adult in attempted murder

January 13, 1998

Teen to be tried as adult in attempted murder


Staff Writer

A 16-year-old Hagerstown girl facing attempted murder charges in connection with the Aug. 21 stabbing of a younger girl will be retained in the adult court, a Washington County Circuit judge ruled Monday.

Melody Ann Seal was returned to the Washington County Detention Center to await trial.

"It is a serious criminal case," said Judge Kennedy Boone in deciding the case would stay in adult court. "And I feel there is a possibility of other incidents."

Boone didn't rule out that Seal might be transferred to a secure juvenile facility for treatment and evaluation pending trial.

Seal, of 251 1/2 Laurel St., was silent throughout the 90-minute hearing Monday. The victim, Delanna Womack, 14, was in the courtroom gallery.


Charges against Seal include attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, assault with intent to maim, first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment, police reports said.

Womack was rushed to Washington County Hospital by Community Rescue Service shortly after the 10:05 p.m. incident on Aug. 21. She had been stabbed in the hands, the middle of her back and the upper chest, suffering a collapsed lung.

Police said Womack and several other girls drove to Seal's home that night and Seal went outside, police said. An argument with Womack ensued, presumably over a boy, police said.

Seal went inside her apartment.

When she came back out, she allegedly jumped through the passenger side window and struck Womack in the chest with a steak knife, police said.

Several of the other girls attempted to pull her off Womack but Womack was stabbed again, police said.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Mark Wolfe Monday argued to Boone that the case wasn't appropriate for juvenile court, hence the automatic waiver to adult court in August because of the serious nature of the offense.

But defense attorney Eric Reed argued that she has no juvenile record and has been the object of abuse and neglect since she was 7.

Elizabeth O'Hare of the child protective services division of the Department of Social Services testified that dating back to 1989, there had been incidents in the Seal household including lack of supervision that culminated in removal to foster care.

At the time of the incident, Seal wasn't living with either parent.

Dr. James Olssen, a forensic psychologist, testified that Seal goes into rages when she feels threatened.

"She is very sensitive to anyone being aggressive toward her," Olssen said.

He recommended Seal be waived to juvenile court and possibly assigned to Fairbridge in Montgomery County, Md., for treatment.

Joan Cave, a probation agent with the Department of Juvenile Justice, testified there were reports of several outbreaks in school in 1996 that she would characterize as violent.

After the August stabbing, Seal ran away but was caught in the 800 block of Potomac Avenue, police said. She has been in the Washington County Detention Center ever since.

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