Teen charged in stabbing ordered to go back to jail Prosecutor says defendant violated terms of release

March 26, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A Carroll County teen-ager, who was released from custody last week despite being charged as an adult in the stabbing of a Westminster man, was ordered back to jail yesterday in lieu of $25,000 bail.

The release of Saylen D. Houston, 17, of no fixed address, on March 18 spawned an angry outcry from the family of the victim, Harry Moss, 36, of the 100 block of Lincoln Road.

Houston is accused of stabbing Moss three times during a confrontation on Feb. 26. Moss had internal injuries and spent 13 days in the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Carroll Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. chastised prosecutors yesterday for failing to make the severity of the facts known to him during a habeas corpus hearing last week.

Burns signed a no-bond bench warrant for Houston on Friday after learning that the teen-ager violated a condition of his freedom: that he have no contact with Moss or his wife.

Prosecutor Theresa M. Adams said she had two witnesses who saw the teen-ager with Vonda Moss, the victim's wife.

Houston called Westminster police Friday to ask if a warrant had been issued for him. He was told to come to police headquarters to pick up personal property and was arrested when he arrived.

Adams recounted the stabbing incident for Burns yesterday, saying that Moss arrived at his home and found Houston asleep with his wife on a couch in the living room.

Angry words were exchanged, Adams said, and Houston pulled out a knife. Moss went outside and got a shovel and began beating on Houston's truck, she said.

Vonda Moss went outside and began arguing with her husband, who was still wielding the shovel when, Adams said, Houston reached around Mrs. Moss and stabbed her husband twice in the right side of his chest.

After Moss stepped back and shouted, "Oh, my God, you stabbed me," Houston stabbed Moss a third time, near his heart, and fled, Adams said.

James L. Rhodes, a Baltimore attorney representing Houston, told Burns his client did not run away, but went to the fire house and asked that police be called.

Houston saw Vonda Moss twice after the no-contact order was issued, Rhodes told Burns. He went to Black & Decker in Hampstead to pick up a pay check and she was there.

Mrs. Moss also had the keys to Houston's truck and drove him to retrieve the vehicle, Rhodes said.

The lawyer said his client never made it to his uncle's home in Dundalk, where he planned to live, because police were still holding his driver's license.

Adams argued that Houston should not be set free, calling him a danger to the community. She said that no weapon has been recovered and that Mrs. Moss has been uncooperative with investigators.

Rhodes said he was not aware that police and prosecutors considered Vonda Moss a suspect in a conspiracy with his client, implying that Houston might have acted in self-defense.

Adams rejected any hint of self-defense, saying that the stabbing of Moss once, maybe even twice, could be judged as self-defense, "but stabbing him three times is stretching it."

In setting bail, Burns again ordered Houston to have no contact with Harry and Vonda Moss and placed Houston on pretrial supervision, if he makes bail.

Pub Date: 3/26/98

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