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Hearing held for Hagerstown woman charged in assault

November 07, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN ? A Hagerstown woman charged with first-degree assault in connection with an Oct. 13 incident was in Washington County District Court Tuesday afternoon.

Thelma Denise Burns, 45, of 225 N. Jonathan St., No. 202, is accused of throwing bleach into her ex-boyfriend's eyes while he was at a club with his new girlfriend, according to court documents and police testimony.

Burns is charged with first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. First-degree assault, a felony, carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

Washington County District Judge Mark D. Thomas found probable cause for all three charges during Tuesday's preliminary hearing.

The smell of bleach was so strong that it brought tears to the eyes of Thomas Kelley, the Hagerstown Police Department officer who responded to Sportsman Club 73 on North Jonathan Street around 12:30 a.m. Oct. 13, according to charging documents.

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The victim, Vibert A. Williams, was treated in the Washington County Hospital emergency room, where Dr. Steven Battle said his vision had been damaged, Detective Jason Ackerman testified Tuesday. Battle told police that the liquid, which he suspected to be bleach, could have caused a chemical burn that could have blinded Williams, court documents show.

Burns and Williams lived together as a couple for about two years before he moved out to live with a new girlfriend a few weeks before the incident, Ackerman testified.

Williams was in court Tuesday, but did not want to take the stand to identify Burns.

The judge ordered Burns not to have any contact with Williams.

"It's over ... I don't want any further relationship with him," Burns said.

Burns was released Tuesday night from Washington County Detention Center after posting a $10,000 bond. The bond was reduced from $65,000.

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