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Hagerstown woman accepts plea deal in boyfriend's stabbing

Renee Nicole Benjamin received a four-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree assault

April 04, 2013|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Renee Nicole Benjamin
Photo submitted by Hagerstown Police Department

A Hagerstown woman charged with attempted murder in the stabbing of her boyfriend last year entered a guilty plea to first-degree assault Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court and received a suspended sentence.

A battered spouse syndrome defense was planned for Renee Nicole Benjamin had there not been a plea agreement, Assistant Public Defender Loren Villa told Judge Daniel P. Dwyer during the plea hearing for the 19-year-old woman.

Photos of Benjamin taken after her arrest after the Oct. 23, 2012, stabbing of her boyfriend showed bruising and other injuries to her face and body, Villa said.

Dwyer gave Benjamin a four-year suspended sentence and ordered her to spend three years on supervised probation. Benjamin served 43 days in jail before she posted bond, according to court records.

Charges of first- and second-degree attempted murder, reckless endangerment and use of a deadly weapon were dismissed as part of the plea.

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On Oct. 23 shortly before 5 a.m., Benjamin stabbed Jason Robert Davis in the thigh at the home they shared at 720 W. Franklin St., Assistant State’s Attorney Michele Hansen told Dwyer. The knife sliced an artery in his leg and he was unconscious and bleeding profusely when police arrived, she said.

Benjamin, who had blood on her pants and arms, initially denied knowing anything about the stabbing, but later confessed, Hansen said.

Davis had been out all night and the two argued when he came home, Hansen said. At one point, Davis slapped Benjamin, after which she got a knife from the kitchen and stabbed him, she said.

Davis did not want the case pursued, although the state would have done so regardless, Hansen said.

“We believe the plea ... as far as the first-degree assault ... is an acceptable plea,” Villa told Dwyer.

“It’s kind of a toss-up how this case would have gone,” Dwyer said.

The battered spouse syndrome defense might convince a jury, but she also might have been convicted of one of the attempted murder charges, he told her.

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