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Man sentenced for second-degree assault pleads guilty to first-degree assault

Judge sentences Robert B. Heare to 20 years in prison with 10 years suspended

December 17, 2010|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

Sentenced to state prison in September for a second-degree assault conviction, a Smithsburg man was back in Washington County Circuit Court Thursday to plead guilty to first-degree assault for slashing a man with a knife in May.

Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. sentenced Robert B. Heare, 28, of 7B N. Main St., to 20 years in state prison with 10 years suspended. That will run concurrent with the 10-year sentence, with five years suspended, that he received when sentenced in September.

"It's clear you have committed a number of violent crimes," Long told Heare after Assistant State's Attorney Brett Wilson read off the defendant's criminal history, which included an eight-year state prison sentence in 2000 for another first-degree assault conviction.

Shortly before 3 a.m. on May 22, 2010, the Washington County Sheriff's Office went to Smithsburg for a reported stabbing, the statement of probable cause said. Deputies found Brehon Ray Sweeny Jr., 36, on North Main Street bleeding heavily from a laceration on the left side of his face, the charging documents said.

Sweeny pointed to an apartment building and said he was inside it when a man slashed him with a kitchen knife, the documents said. When deputies investigated they found Heare, who had blood on his right hand, and two other men inside.

Heare denied any knowledge of the stabbing, but Sweeny identified him as the assailant, the documents said. Sweeny said he was drinking at a bar when one of the other men invited him back to the apartment.

Sweeny said he and Heare discussed Heare's connection with the Crips gang, the documents said. The discussion turned into an argument, and Heare attacked Sweeny, the documents said.

"With the discussion escalating, he felt somewhat threatened," defense attorney R. David Pembroke said of Heare. Everyone in the apartment had been "drinking rather heavily," he said.

Charges of second-degree assault and reckless endangerment were dismissed in exchange for the plea, according to court documents. Long's sentence included $1,433 in restitution to Sweeny for his medical bills.

In September Heare was found guilty by a jury of assaulting a woman on Feb. 19, according to court records.

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