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Hagerstown woman charged with attempted second-degree murder is released on home detention

White's attorney says his client has been diagnosed with lung cancer

White's attorney says his client has been diagnosed with lung cancer

September 05, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- A Hagerstown woman who police say twice ran into her husband with their sport utility vehicle in August was released into home detention Thursday after her attorney revealed she had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

Shawnee White, 32, formerly of 15 Park Ave., had been held at the Washington County Detention Center since Aug. 7 on charges of attempted second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and malicious destruction of property, according to court records.

Washington County District Judge Mark D. Thomas ordered that she be released into supervised home detention at a relative's home on the condition that she submit to drug and alcohol testing and have no contact with her husband. White's bond was to remain at $400,000, Thomas said.

White waived a preliminary hearing on the charges Thursday, and the case is expected to proceed in Washington County Circuit Court.

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Witnesses to the Aug. 7 incident said White struck her husband with an SUV once, he punched her in the face, and she backed up and then struck him again, then drove through a fence with him on the hood of the SUV, Washington County Sheriff's Department Deputy J.L. Barnhart wrote in charging documents.

White's husband, Joseph Stephen White, told deputies he and his wife had been arguing for about five hours about one of his relatives and both had been drinking, Barnhart wrote.

Since her arrest, White has written twice to Thomas about health conditions, according to court records. On Aug. 29, she wrote that she had received the results of a biopsy and learned that a growth removed from her lung was cancerous. White also wrote that she needed to be on oxygen and was not allowed to have it at the detention center.

"I'm really scared," White wrote to the judge. "I don't want to die in jail over a accident!!"

White's attorney, George W. Knight Jr., filed a motion to have White released on personal recognizance or placed on pretrial home detention. He told Thomas on Thursday that White had been to the hospital for lung failure and had received word that a growth on her lung was cancerous. Knight argued she would get better medical attention at home than in the detention center.

Knight said Joseph White had no fear of his wife and wanted her to come back home. Shawnee White has three children in the home, ages 13, 11 and 9, he said.

"Since this is an inner-family problem, I don't believe she is a risk to the public or to anyone else," Knight said.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Mark Boyer stressed that, if convicted on both counts of attempted second-degree murder, White could face up to 60 years in prison.

"That alone should cause the court to be concerned about a flight risk," Boyer said.

White was charged with second-degree assault against her husband in May 2007, but the couple was referred to mediation and prosecutors dropped the charge, Boyer said.

Knight said he was pleased with the outcome of the hearing and praised Thomas for "excellent judicial temperament."

"He judges people as people," Knight said.

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