Sexual assault charges dropped against Hagerstown-area man

Rape and other charges were dropped Monday against a Hagerstown-area man after a prosecutor said the alleged victim in the spring 2022 case could not be located.

Assistant State’s Attorney Christine Remsburg told Washington County Circuit Court Judge Joseph S. Michael on Monday morning, when the matter was scheduled to go to trial, that the state had done everything in its power to find the person, but could not. Michael granted Remsburg’s request to dismiss charges against Harry William Deneen III.

Washington County State’s Attorney Gina Cirincion, in an email, reiterated Monday that the “State exhausted all efforts to find this victim” in the sexual assault case after Cirincion confirmed to The Herald-Mail that Deneen was the same man sentenced in West Virginia in 2003 for murder.

More local news:Washington County’s budget proposal for next year is $281 million. Here’s what’s in it.

After the brief morning court hearing, and before The Herald-Mail confirmed Deneen was the same man in the murder case, defense attorney Samuel Nalli said he wished his client hadn’t been held so long.

As of Monday’s hearing, Deneen, 45, had been held at the Washington County Detention Center without bond since May 2, according to his online court docket.

Deneen had a different defense attorney in the 2001 case that led him to plead guilty in 2003 to second-degree murder, according to Herald-Mail archives. Deneen received concurrent 40-year prison terms in the murder of Doris “Amy” Frey and an unrelated kidnapping charge for which he also pleaded guilty.

According to newspaper archives, Deneen would have first been eligible for parole in the murder case about 10 years after his March 2003 sentencing.

The felonies dropped against Deneen in the Washington County case were second-degree rape and third-degree sex offense. The maximum penalty for conviction on the rape charge could have been 20 years in state prison, according to court records.

The misdemeanor charges dismissed were second-degree assault, theft less than $100 and fourth-degree sex offense.

The 2022 sexual assault case

Deneen had been accused of sexually assaulting a woman who was able to free herself from his grip when a passerby fired a shot, according to court records.

Hagerstown Police responding to a South Burhans Boulevard address on May 1 around 11 pm for a reported robbery in progress found Deneen, according to the charging documents. Deneen told officers he gave a woman a ride to the residence and she punched him and took his money. He appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, according to the charging document filed against him.

The woman told police she accepted Deneen’s offer of a ride home from Byers Stop ‘n Go, and that as she was entering the residence just down the street on South Burhans Boulevard, she noticed Deneen was still in his car in the parking lot. She told police that when she saw him in the back seat and asked what he was doing, he pulled her inside, took $87 from her pants pocket and assaulted her, the document states.

The woman told police that she got the car door open and tried to run away with one leg out of her pants, but when she tripped and fell next to the car Deneen got on top of her and continued to assault her, according to the document .

As they struggled on the ground, someone in a passing car fired a shot from a handgun into the air, she told the police. Deneen paused, the woman said, and she was able to free herself and run to a residence where she banged on the door and screamed for help. The residents let her in and called 911, the document states.

Police found $87 behind Deneen’s car as well as articles of the woman’s clothing. Some of her personal items, including her wallet and phone, were found in the back seat, the document states.

The 2001 murder of Amy Frey

Frey’s naked, decomposed body was found on July 2, 2001, at the edge of a field near Spring Mills, W.Va., according to Herald-Mail archives.

Giving a factual basis for his plea in 2003, Deneen told a 23rd Judicial Circuit judge in West Virginia that on June 29 or June 30, 2001, he helped stab Frey, 25.

Frey was from Hagerstown, and Deneen had Hagerstown and Martinsburg, W.Va., addresses listed in court records.

The two met at Duke’s Tavern, a Hagerstown bar, the night Frey died, according to Herald-Mail archives.

Deneen, after first saying he did not know Frey, later told police he did, and that he’d driven her to a remote spot in Maryland to have sex, according to West Virginia court records referenced in Herald-Mail stories about the case. Deneen said that afterwards, he dropped Frey off in Hagerstown and went to his girlfriend’s home.

Deneen allegedly asked a relative to provide an alibi for him for the night Frey was killed, after saying he had killed a woman. He also allegedly showed that relative the knife he used, which police found in the rafters of an abandoned Clear Spring home.

Frey, who was known by her middle name, Amy, had 33 stab wounds and at least four incision wounds, or cuts, a Berkeley County coroner has said.

At the time of Deneen’s 2003 sentencing, the prosecutor in the case could not comment on Deneen’s assertion that he did not act alone, saying the case remained open.

A representative of the Berkeley County prosecutor’s office, late Monday afternoon, said no record could immediately be found of another person being charged in Frey’s murder.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: Sex assault charges dropped against MD man; victim could not be found

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *