Carroll man, 20, gets 10 years in stabbing


A Westminster man who held police at bay in January while he repeatedly stabbed his girlfriend outside a Hess gas station was sentenced yesterday to two concurrent 30-year prison terms, with all but 20 years suspended.

With his hands cuffed behind his back, Jason Michael Woodward, 20, of the first block of Middle Grove Court East waved to his family before being led away after Carroll Circuit Judge Michael M. Galloway found him guilty of attempted second-degree murder and kidnapping.

"The facts of this case are horrific," Galloway said. "The only thing that could've made things any worse is if the victim had been more seriously injured or if she had died as a result."

FOR THE RECORD - A headline in the Maryland section yesterday about a Westminster man convicted of stabbing his girlfriend incorrectly reported the man's prison sentence. Jason Michael Woodward was sentenced to two concurrent 30-year prison terms, with all but 20 years suspended.
The Sun regrets the error.

Before being sentenced, Woodward apologized to the victim - Jennifer Rebecca Fletcher, 21, of Westminster - who sobbed whenever her name or details of the attack were mentioned.

Woodward was sentenced to 30 years for attempted second-degree murder, with all but 20 years suspended, to run concurrently with a 30-year sentence for kidnapping, also with all but 20 years suspended.

Another 3 1/2 -year concurrent sentence was included for violation of probation in a burglary and drunken-driving case for which Woodward had begun serving an 18-month sentence last September. The court had recommended him for work release.

He was placed in the trusty program, which precedes work release, and was assigned to an outdoor detail in January from which he fled, police said. He contacted Fletcher, who said she persuaded him to return to jail and was driving him there.

Before they arrived, Woodward changed his mind, took Fletcher captive and tried to force her to drive him out of state, records show.

During a stop for gas at a Hess station in Westminster, Fletcher tried to call for help. When Woodward dragged her away, bystanders called 911, records said.

Officers found Woodward holding Fletcher at knifepoint and ordered him to drop the knife, but he refused and stabbed her several times, court records showed.

Authorities said an officer fired a shot, which missed Woodward. Police used pepper spray to subdue him.

Fletcher was treated for a collapsed lung at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

As part of a pretrial agreement, prosecutors dropped multiple charges, including attempted first-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, resisting arrest and false imprisonment.

Deputy State's Attorney David Daggett also chose not to prosecute Woodward for fleeing the trusty program.

Woodward has the court's permission to request a hearing to modify his sentence within five years. Conditions of release include five years' supervised probation; evaluation and treatment for mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse; and no contact with Fletcher.

Galloway also ruled that Woodward may be evaluated for the youthful offender program at the Department of Corrections' Patuxent Institution in Jessup.

Martha Metcalf, Woodward's grandmother, said the program might help change his behavior.

Metcalf said her grandson, who lived with her until last year, had bipolar disorder and abused alcohol and Xanax, an anti-anxiety prescription medication.

"He's a good kid," she said. "He needs to get himself together."

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