Teenager pleads guilty to assault in stabbing

January 22, 1998


Staff Writer

Looking poised and older than her 16 years, Melody Ann Seal on Thursday entered a guilty plea to first-degree assault in Washington County Circuit Court in connection with the Aug. 21 stabbing of a younger girl.

Sentencing was delayed pending a pre-sentence investigation ordered by Judge Donald Beachley. Seal was returned to the Washington County Detention Center without bond.

She faces a possible sentence of 25 years in prison.

Charged as an adult when the incident occurred, Seal had been facing charges of attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, assault with intent to maim, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.


All were dropped Thursday in exchange for her guilty plea.

Last week, Seal was retained in the adult court despite efforts to have the case transferred to juvenile jurisdiction.

Seal, of 251/2 Laurel St., spoke confidently and clearly when questioned by Beachley. The victim, Delanna Womack, 14, was in the courtroom gallery.

On Aug. 21, Womack was rushed to Washington County Hospital with stab wounds in the hands, the middle of her back and the upper chest. She suffered a collapsed lung.

Womack and several other girls had driven to Seal's home that night and Seal went outside to the car. An argument over a boy began and Seal went back inside her apartment, court records said.

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

"She was in a total rage," said Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Arthur Rozes. "The other girls pulled her off but she broke away and Womack was stabbed again."

At the Jan. 12 hearing to determine jurisdiction, there was testimony 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 at that hearing that Seal goes into rages when she feels threatened.

"She is very sensitive to anyone being aggressive toward her," Olssen said Jan. 12.

A probation agent with the Department of Juvenile Justice testified on Jan. 12 that there were reports of several incidents in school in 1996 that could be described 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 since then.

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