Knifing was self-defense, Sykesville woman says

June 24, 1992|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

SYKESVILLE -- A woman said she was abused by her boyfriend and struck back at him in self-defense during a domestic dispute Saturday evening, town police reported.

The quarrel ended when she used a kitchen knife to wound him in the back, police said.

Tamara Musgrove Harmon, 28, who was arrested on charges of assault with intent to murder and two misdemeanors, said she used the knife only after her boyfriend, John Kennedy Johnson, 29, became violent, police said.

"She says he dragged her up the stairs and she doesn't remember how she got the knife," said Sgt. A. R. Griffin, the Sykesville police officer who handled the case. "She said he was probably dragging her upstairs to beat her up."

Griffin said Johnson's version of the incident begins with Harmon in the kitchen of her apartment in the 7600 block of Schoolhouse Road.

"Johnson came into the kitchen, and he and Harmon began arguing over finances," Griffin said. "She told him to leave the house, and when he went upstairs to unhook a VCR he said he was taking, she came up behind him."

While Johnson worked on the machine, Griffin said he reported, Harmon came into the room, saying, "You're not taking anything from here," and began stabbing Johnson with the knife.

"She made two superficial wounds, but the third one really penetrated, about six inches below his neck," Griffin said.

A struggle allegedly began in the bedroom as Johnson tried to gain control of the knife. Harmon's son summoned Johnson's friend, Brian Brady, who was visiting from Baltimore, and told him to go upstairs, the police report said.

"Brady said he was shocked when he went into the bedroom and found the two sprawling on the floor, with Johnson holding the wrist of Harmon's hand which held the knife," Griffin said.

Harmon gave the knife to Brady and the two men went outside to sit down. Harmon's daughter was talking to a 911 dispatcher when Harmon told the officer that the police did not need to come because Johnson had left the house, Griffin said.

"[Harmon] even told the officer that she could give a description of the car he would be riding in," Griffin said.

But the two men never got to the car. Griffin said they were on the front steps -- with Brady pressing a folded T-shirt to Johnson's wound -- when he arrived.

Ambulance crews from West Friendship and Sykesville fire departments arranged for Johnson to be flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Griffin charged Harmon that night, and she stayed in police custody until she posted 10 percent of her $10,000 bail.

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