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Attempted murder charges dropped against Hagerstown man

September 24, 2002|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

Attempted murder charges against a Hagerstown man were dismissed Monday.

James Albert Woods, 24, was one of three men charged after Damion Maurice Womble of Hagerstown was shot four times near the corner of Salem and Central avenues last November.

After two co-defendants - James McNair, 25, and Steven Todd Bowie, 19, both of Hagerstown - were prosecuted, it became clear that Bowie was the shooter, Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Charles Strong said Monday.

The shooting apparently followed an argument over an alleged robbery.

Womble testified in July that he met with McNair, Bowie and Woods on Salem Avenue after an acquaintance of Womble's accused McNair of robbing him.

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When the argument grew heated, Bowie pulled out a gun and shot Womble four times, Womble testified.

Womble recovered after spending several weeks in the hospital.

Single counts of attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment against Woods were dropped Monday in Washington County Circuit Court. Other counts involving the use of a weapon were also dismissed.

"To prosecute him would have been contrary to the evidence," Strong said.

On July 17, a jury found Bowie guilty of first-degree assault and using a handgun in the commission of a crime.

Bowie was found not guilty of several other charges, including attempted murder.

Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III on Sept. 3 sentenced Bowie to 15 years in prison on the assault charge and five years in prison on the handgun charge. The terms are to run concurrently.

McNair pleaded guilty on May 30 to first-degree assault. Under a plea agreement, charges of attempted first- and second-degree murder, plus other counts, were dropped.

Circuit Judge Donald Beachley on Aug. 6 sentenced McNair to 18 years in prison but suspended six years of the sentence.

McNair will be on unsupervised probation for four years after he is released from prison, according to court records.

McNair appealed the sentence, but a three-judge panel upheld it on Sept. 17.

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