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Hagerstown man gets 35 years in prison in Jonathan Street stabbing, standoff

Judge sentences Jenerette Dixon to 25 years each on first-degree assault and sex abuse charges

September 10, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Jenerette Dixon
Jenerette Dixon

A Hagerstown man who stabbed a girl in the chest at a home on Jonathan Street last February, then engaged in a 2 1/2 hour standoff with police was sentenced to serve 35 years in prison.

During a hearing Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court, Judge John H. McDowell sentenced Jenerette Dixon, 39, formerly of North Jonathan Street, to 25 years in prison on a first-degree assault charge.

McDowell also sentenced Dixon to 25 years on a sex abuse of a minor charge for molesting the girl before he stabbed her, but suspended all but 10 years of that term.

The judge ordered that the sentences be served consecutively.

McDowell said Dixon must serve at least half of the 25-year sentence on the first-degree assault charge before he will be eligible for parole.

On May 13, Dixon pleaded guilty to the first-degree assault and sex abuse of a minor charges. In exchange for the plea, other charges, including first-degree attempted murder and second-degree attempted murder, were dismissed.

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Before he handed down the sentence, McDowell said he considered Dixon’s troubled childhood, including an incident in which Dixon witnessed his father bludgeon his mother to death with a hammer.

“I simply cannot ignore the fact that your (criminal) record is atrocious,” McDowell said as he rattled off a list of Dixon’s previous charges.

Those charges included a guilty plea to a count of second-degree murder that Dixon entered in August 2003 in Baltimore City Circuit Court. In that case, he was sentenced to serve 25 years in prison, with all but 10 years suspended.

In the case for which he was sentenced Tuesday, the girl told a teacher in September 2012 that she had been sexually abused by Dixon, a claim that Hagerstown Police Department officers later investigated. The girl told police that Dixon had been drinking when he made inappropriate contact with her on the night of Aug. 31, 2012.

Instead of being arrested on a warrant, Dixon — who was on parole for the 2003 murder — was charged by summons.

On Feb. 16, Dixon got into an argument with the girl’s mother at a Jonathan Street home, Washington County Assistant State’s Attorney Brett Wilson told the court on Tuesday. When the girl came to the top of the stairs and told Dixon to stop, he stabbed her with a 6-inch kitchen knife, court records say.

When police arrived, they found the girl “on the front porch steps with a knife handle sticking out of her chest,” Wilson told the court during the May 13 plea hearing.

The fact that no one removed the knife until emergency medical personnel took her to the hospital “probably saved her life,” Wilson said at that time.

“It did plunge through ribs,” Wilson said Tuesday. “It punctured several organs.”

The knife lacerated the girl’s diaphragm, liver and peritoneum — the membrane lining the abdominal cavity, according to court records.

Wilson said the girl has made a full recovery.

Wilson asked that McDowell sentence Dixon to 40 years.

“This young girl did nothing to bring this on herself,” Wilson said, noting the girl has forgiven Dixon, but believed he should be punished.

Deputy District Public Defender Eric Reed said during the sentencing hearing that Dixon’s alcohol abuse played a major role in the crimes.

“He certainly isn’t proud .... I think alcohol was a part of his huge lapse in judgment,” Reed said.

Dixon, who sat through much of the proceedings with his head down, briefly addressed the court, saying he came to Hagerstown from Baltimore to find a better life.

“The events that took place ... I never wanted to happen,” he said. “I’m deeply sorry.”

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