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Plea offer is withdrawn

February 17, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -Prosecutors withdrew a plea bargain offered to the man accused of fatally stabbing a Hagerstown woman, in part because he continues to maintain his innocence, said Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely.

Harry William Deneen III, 25, was charged with murder in the death of 25-year-old Doris "Amy" Frey, who was stabbed 33 times on June 29, 2001. Frey's nude, partially decomposed body was found on the edge of a field near Spring Mills, W.Va., three days later.

Almost two months ago, Deneen agreed to an arrangement in which he would have pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and to a kidnapping charge that stems from an unrelated case.

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Games-Neely made the offer with the conditions that Deneen provide information about the murder, take a polygraph test and testify against others if needed.

Since December, Deneen has spoken to police twice, Games-Neely said.

"He's professing his innocence," she said. "If you're going to maintain your innocence, you don't plead guilty to second-degree murder."

Deneen's defense attorney, David Camilletti, said he could not comment on what Deneen may or may not have told police, saying that to do so would violate his client's Fifth Amendment right.

Camilletti told Circuit Judge Christopher Wilkes in court Friday that prosecutors unfairly used the plea to get information. He asked that the plea be enforced, and Wilkes agreed to hold a hearing on the matter next Friday.

"We have fulfilled a bargain that the state asked us to do," Camilletti said. "The state can't unilaterally withdraw."

Games-Neely said Deneen did not provide any information the state could use.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Deneen would have been sentenced to 40 years in prison for the murder charge and 40 years for the kidnapping charge, with the sentences to run at the same time.

Wilkes must now decide whether to accept or reject the plea. If he rejects it, the case could go to trial next month.

Deneen is being held in Eastern Regional Jail without bail.

Members of Frey's family, after making hand and face gestures toward Deneen, were warned by a bailiff to cease before Wilkes entered the courtroom.

Police allege Deneen and Frey left Duke's Tavern in Hagerstown together sometime in the early morning hours of June 29, 2001.

Deneen allegedly asked his uncle to provide an alibi for him for that night after saying he had killed a woman, according to court records. Deneen also allegedly showed his uncle the knife used in the killing.

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