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Hagerstown woman ordered to trial on charges including attempted second-degree murder

September 17, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- An attempted murder case against a Hagerstown woman accused of swinging a knife and firing a gun at another woman Aug. 19 will proceed to Washington County Circuit Court after a District Court judge found there was probable cause for the charges at a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Jennifer Lynn Williams, 37, of 406 W. Washington St., Apt. 3, was charged with attempted second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, having a handgun on her person, concealing a dangerous weapon, discharging a firearm in city limits and possession of drug paraphernalia, court records show.

Assistant Public Defender Carl Somerlock argued there was not probable cause for the attempted murder charge, stressing that the state was relying on a statement by one person and that no independent witnesses had been interviewed.

Hagerstown Police Officer Chris Robinson testified Tuesday that he heard a gunshot at about 5 a.m. Aug. 19 and went to investigate. He heard screaming and yelling in the area of West Church Street and North Walnut Street and encountered a woman who said a woman in a dark sweat shirt had shot at her, he said.

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Robinson found Williams, who was wearing a dark sweat shirt, in the 100 block of North Walnut Street, and found a knife in her waistband, he said. After Robinson took Williams to police headquarters for processing, he found a pistol under the driver's seat of his patrol car, he said. The gun contained seven rounds of ammunition out of a possible capacity of 11, Robinson said.

The alleged victim, Sheila Kay Ahalt, told an investigator she had gone into an alley behind her home because she heard a loud verbal dispute, Robinson said. When Ahalt asked what was going on, Williams asked who she was talking to and swung a knife towards Ahalt's throat, but missed, Robinson said. Williams rode away on a bicycle, and Ahalt agreed to walk home with a woman who was scared, Robinson said. While they were walking, Ahalt heard a shot, dropped to the ground, and looked up to see Williams in the area where the shot originated, Robinson said.

No shell casing was found, Robinson said.

Washington County District Court Judge Ralph H. France II ordered that Williams continue to be held at Washington County Detention Center on $350,000 bond.

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