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Man who stabbed woman with a semen-filled syringe outside Churchton grocery store sentenced to 10 years in prison

A Churchton man who stabbed a woman in the buttock with a syringe that was later discovered to be filled with semen was sentenced to 10 years in prison Tuesday.

Judge Stacy McCormick sentenced Thomas Stemen, 52, to 25 years in prison, suspending all but 10 years for first-degree assault and five years in prison for second-degree assault. His five year sentence will run concurrent to his 10 years sentence followed by five years of supervised probation.

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Stemen, whose address in online court records is in Ohio, entered an Alford plea to first and second-degree assault in June, meaning Stemen maintains he is innocent but acknowledges the state has evidence that would likely convict him if his case went to trial.

Stemen was caught on video in February 2020 pulling something out of his pocket and bumping into a woman as she returned a shopping cart to the front of a Churchton grocery store. The woman jumps, reacting as if pricked, and Stemen returns the item to his pocket. She asks Stemen if he burned her with a cigarette and he replied: “Ya it felt like a bee sting didn’t it,” according to the police report.

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In his June plea hearing, prosecutors detailed how Stemen attempted to attack two other women in the grocery store parking lot before he injected an unknown substance into the woman returning her shopping cart. One of the intended victims was a 17-year-old girl, who Stemen told to walk ahead of him to enter the grocery store. She later felt “something wet hit the back of her leg and caused her to look down,” assistant state’s attorney Megan Mickler said during his plea hearing.

The woman then wiped the substance off her leg. Stemen was ordered to stay away from the grocery store, as part of his sentence.

Bethany Skopp, a public defender representing Stemen, did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday.

The woman who was pricked told police she went home and noticed a small red spot that appeared to be a puncture wound on her buttocks and that she felt a wet substance on her pants after she felt the syringe prick. The sport turned into a large red area about four inches in diameter. She was prescribed a preventative medication cocktail for 30 days before police discovered the syringe was filled with semen.

Anne Arundel County police asked the public for information about the man in the grocery store surveillance video, and an anonymous caller identified the man as Stemen. Police obtained a search warrant and found a hypodermic syringe with an unknown cloudy liquid in his car, Mickler said.

Police searched Stemen’s Churchton home and found another syringe with a cloudy liquid on the top shelf of his medicine cabinet. Nine other empty syringes were scattered about his house placed in the kitchen and bedroom nightstands. Five of the syringes did not have needles. Police found the clothes Stemen wore during the attack on the back of his bathroom door.

Police obtained Stemen’s DNA and sent the liquid in the syringes to a lab for testing. The results came back identifying the liquid as semen that matched Stemen’s DNA. The pants Stemen wore that day also had a substance on them later determined to be semen.

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