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Teen gets 10 years for stabbing man with developmental disabilities

May 10, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Matthew David Smith
Submitted photo

HAGERSTOWN — A Washington County Circuit Court judge Thursday sentenced a Hagerstown teenager to 10 years in state prison after he pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in the stabbing of a man with developmental disabilities.

Judge John H. McDowell gave Matthew David Smith, 18, of 321 N. Locust St. a 25-year sentence with 15 years suspended.

As part of the plea agreement, the other charges against Smith, including attempted first-degree murder, were dismissed, according to court records.

Smith will have to serve half of the 10 years before being eligible for parole, McDowell told him.

Smith was 17 at the time of the Dec. 3, 2011, attack on Nelson Fuentes, a resident of a home on Marshall Street in Hagerstown operated by ARC of Washington County, according to the statement of probable cause filed by Hagerstown police.

Smith went to the house that night armed with a knife and accompanied by other males, the charging documents said. He entered the house, where he assaulted Fuentes, inflicting stab wounds and lacerations to Fuentes’ back and abdomen, the documents said.

Fuentes was hospitalized for a day, but the hospital report “indicated the wounds were superficial,” Assistant Public Defender Brian Hutchison told McDowell.

Smith believed Fuentes might have been having a relationship with his girlfriend. Smith’s mother, a girlfriend and others had gone to the ARC house to warn Fuentes before Smith’s arrival and witnessed the attack, the documents said.

It was Smith’s mother who took the weapon from him and turned it over to police, the documents said.

Fuentes was present for the plea and sentencing, but told McDowell he did not want to address the court.

In April, McDowell denied a motion to transfer Smith’s case to juvenile court due to his age at the time of the incident. At that hearing, prosecution witnesses documented a long history of violent behavior by Smith.

Among his 17 contacts with juvenile authorities before the stabbing, 13 were for assaults, including some against staff members and residents at juvenile facilities, according to testimony at the hearing.

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