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Man convicted of assault on teen

April 29, 2005|by PEPPER BALLARD

A Washington County Circuit jury on Thursday convicted a 42-year-old Hagerstown of second-degree assault and reckless endangerment in connection with a December 2004 incident in which he was alleged to have held a machete to the throat of a teenager.

James Francis Doyle, whose last known address was 453 W. Antietam St., Apt. 3, was sentenced following the single day trial by Circuit Judge John H. McDowell to serve four years in state prison for the convictions. The maximum sentence for second-degree assault is 10 years.

The jury of six women and six men deliberated for about 30 minutes before reaching its verdict. It acquitted Doyle of carrying a dangerous and deadly weapon.

Before pronouncing sentence, McDowell told Doyle, who had apologized to the youth, "If you felt aggravated with him, you should not have attacked him."

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According to charging documents, on Dec. 12, the teenager, Jacob Matthew Owen, and his girlfriend, Heather Harper, were confronted outside 453 W. Antietam St. by Doyle, who asked Owen if he thought he was tough and then asked him, "Do you like my breath?" When Owen said "Yes," Doyle went into his apartment and returned with a machete, charging documents state.

"Owen said that Doyle pushed him up against the wall in the hallway and placed the knife against his throat. After a few seconds, Owen said that he pushed Doyle back and ran outside," court documents state. Owen sustained a 11/2-inch laceration to his throat, according to charging documents.

Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Gina Cirincion said Doyle has a history of convictions for such offenses as carjacking, robbery and burglary.

Doyle told McDowell, "I am not a harm to society."

Owen's mother, Sherry Owen, felt differently. She told McDowell, "These kids are now traumatized for the rest of their lives because of him. There's no doubt in my mind that if he gets out on the street, these children will be in danger."

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