Thomas Stemen, 52, of Churchton

Annapolis, Md. – Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess announced on Friday that Thomas Stemen, 52, of Churchton was sentenced to 10 years of active incarceration and five years of supervised probation in the stabbing of a woman with a semen-filled syringe outside of a local grocery store.

The defendant entered an Alford plea to one count of felony first-degree assault and one count of second-degree assault on June 16, 2020. He must also undergo substance abuse and a mental health evaluation and receive treatment upon his release from prison.

“The defendant’s actions were truly horrific,” said State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess. “He intentionally went out into our community with the goal of assaulting unsuspecting women. With this sentence, he will be removed from our community for a long time. I am thankful for the citizens who identified him from video released by law enforcement and that the survivors are able to move forward after this senseless assault.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Megan Mickler prosecuted the case on behalf of the citizen of Anne Arundel County.

On February 18, 2020, a female shopper called Anne Arundel County Police to report an assault that had occurred earlier that day in the parking lot of Christopher’s Grocery Store located at 5500 block of Shady Side Drive in Edgewater. She stated that while putting her shopping cart back a white male bumped into her and she felt a pain in her buttocks. She jumped back and asked the male if he burned her with a cigarette. The male stated, “Ya, it felt like a bee sting, didn’t it?” When she returned home, she observed a small red spot and what appeared to be a puncture wound on her buttocks. She also felt a wet substance on her pants after the assault occurred. Anne Arundel County police officers responded to the location and reviewed the surveillance video which showed a white male walking up behind the victim, pulling something out of his pocket and pushing it against her. The victim then jumped. The surveillance video also showed the same man lunging at two additional female subjects.

The following day, the victim observed that she now had a large round red area on her buttocks where she was attacked and sought treatment at Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Anne Arundel County Police Department released the video to the media in an attempt to identify the suspect. Thomas Stemen was identified by tips from the community and was arrested. Police obtained a search warrant for the defendant’s residence and vehicle. During the search of the vehicle, officers located a large syringe in the driver’s side door that had an unknown liquid inside. There were other syringes found in the defendant’s residence, including one syringe containing an unknown substance. Also recovered at the home was the same sweatshirt, pants, and shoes that the defendant was seen wearing on the surveillance video. The syringes were recovered and sent to the crime lab for DNA analysis and police obtained a search warrant for the defendant’s DNA. The substance inside the syringe found in the defendant’s driver’s side door was identified as semen and a DNA match.

The surveillance video also identified the two additional female victims who the defendant attempted to stab at the grocery store. The defendant plead guilty to second-degree assault for his contact with a 17-year-old girl who was not harmed.

The Honorable Stacy McCormack presided over this case.

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