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Christmas day machete attack nets man 5 years

July 15, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

Michelle Adams' vivid account of seeing a man waving a "humongous blade" and running after another man on East Washington Street last December was part of the testimony Thursday that persuaded a jury to find Price Similien guilty of first-degree assault.

Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick Wright sentenced Similien to serve five years in prison for the Christmas Day machete attack on David Lee Moore.

A five-year sentence for reckless endangerment and a three-year term for carrying a dangerous weapon with intent to injure were imposed concurrently.

Similien, 47, formerly of 930B Lanvale St., has been in jail since Dec. 29, four days after the attack east of Hagerstown's Public Square.

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Both Moore and his fiancee, Brenda Turner, testified that Similien spotted them standing in front of their 40 E. Washington St. apartment just after noon on Christmas Day 1998.

Turner said Similien went around the block in his car and then returned, parking down the street from where she was standing with Moore.

"He got out of his car, unlocked his trunk and began yelling at David, saying he was going to kill him," Turner said.

A verbal argument began between the two men and Similien went back to his car, got a 2 1/2 foot machete out of the trunk and began waving it over his head as he headed for Moore, Turner testified.

"I turned and told David to watch it," Turner said.

Moore testified he turned when Turner made that comment ... just in time to duck. "He came within inches of me," Moore said.

Adams testified she was standing in front of her 21 E. Washington St. apartment that day waiting for a cab.

Testifying she knew neither Moore nor Turner then or now, Adams described Similien as cursing, very violent and aggressive when she saw him across the street that day.

"He was yelling mostly in a foreign language," Adams said.

Similien, a native of Haiti, had an interpreter throughout the hearing to help him understand the testimony

The machete, which was found only a day before the trial began, had apparently been in the trunk of Similien's car since Christmas Day.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Lisa Hardy told Wright that she only learned Wednesday that Similien's car was in a Hagerstown towing company's impound lot.

A quick call to Hagerstown City Police led to preparation of a search warrant and the machete was found.

Defense attorney Carl Creeden tried unsuccessfully to have the machete excluded from the trial or to get a continuance so he could have time to consider the new evidence.

Wright denied both motions and the trial began shortly after 10 a.m.

Similien didn't take the stand himself or offer any other defense testimony during the half-day trial.

The jury of 10 women and two men was out just under an hour before returning the three guilty verdicts.

Through his interpreter, Similien told Wright he didn't have much to say. He asked the judge to do what he could for him.

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