Man admits hammer attack on wife

March 16, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

A 29-year-old Annapolis man pleaded guilty to assault with intent to murder in Anne Arundel Circuit Court yesterday for hitting his wife with a ball-peen hammer so hard he smashed part of her skull into fragments.

Darryl Herbert of the first block of Pleasant Ave. admitted to the attack before Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr.

Assistant State's Attorney William Mulford II said Dana Herbert, 27, was attacked in the couple's home last fall and taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center where surgeons removed parts of the left side of her skull that had been shattered in the attack.

Mr. Mulford could not say how many times Herbert hit his wife, but produced the 20-ounce hammer as evidence.

"But for the treatment at the hospital, Mrs. Herbert probably would have died," he told Judge Thieme.

Mr. Mulford said the incident occurred about 3 a.m. Sept. 9, 1993, when Mrs. Herbert returned to the couple's house after a night out with friends. When she stepped through her front doorway, she was grabbed by her husband and hit with the hammer, Mr. Mulford said.

Mrs. Herbert remembered nothing more until she woke up the next morning at the hospital, Mr. Mulford said.

He said that a neighbor, Veronica Woodby, was walking by as Mrs. Herbert entered the home. She said she called Annapolis police after she heard Mrs. Herbert scream and saw her dragged into the house from the front doorway.

When Officer Darryl Hall arrived, he found Mrs. Herbert's key still in the door, Mr. Mulford said.

Herbert fled out a second-story window. He surrendered to police the next day, Mr. Mulford said.

He said the couple occasionally argued when Mrs. Herbert accused her husband of using crack cocaine.

Herbert could receive a prison term of up to 30 years when he is sentenced April 25.

Carroll McCabe, Herbert's lawyer, said her client had never attacked his wife before, was suffering from depression at the time of the attack and is "extremely remorseful."

She said she will present testimony from Dr. Neil H. Blumberg, a Timonium psychiatrist, at sentencing to show the husband's mental problems were a factor in the attack.

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