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Man sentenced to five years in mother's stabbing

November 22, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - A 44-year-old Halfway man was ordered Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court to serve five years in prison for stabbing his disabled mother with a kitchen knife in February.

Daniel Eugene Harp, of 11234 Scarlet Oak Drive, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in July in the Feb. 6 stabbing.

Sentencing guidelines, which are discretionary, called for a sentence of four to nine years in Harp's case, said Robert Veil, county assistant state's attorney.

Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III ordered Harp to serve five years and gave him credit for the nearly 10 months he has spent in jail since the assault. Wright said he would recommend a psychiatric evaluation for considered placement at Patuxent Institution, a residential facility for mentally ill inmates.

Harp's sister, Deena Harp, told Wright through tears, "Every night since this happened, I been crying, knowing I'm gonna lose my brother because he hurt our mother ... I just hope he gets the help he needs."

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Veil said Harp's mother, who was not present at the Thursday hearing, did not sustain permanent injuries.

Harp's attorney, Deputy District Public Defender Mary Riley, told Wright that Harp is very remorseful and accepts full responsibilty.

Riley said Harp, who is an amputee, was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and had a hard upbringing.

Harp and his mother had been drinking together in the family's kitchen before the stabbing occurred, according to charging documents.

Shortly after 10 p.m. Feb. 6, Washington County Sheriff's Department deputies found Daniel Harp sitting in his mother's bedroom and Nancy Harp, who was 68 at the time, lying in her bed, the victim of a stabbing. A blood-stained kitchen knife, which was 8 to 10 inches long, was on the bedroom floor, charging documents state.

Nancy Harp was conscious and told deputies that her son stabbed her, documents state.

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