Man held in `rampage'

Estranged wife was target of Harford attack, records say

December 22, 2007|By Madison Park and Gus G. Sentementes | Madison Park and Gus G. Sentementes,Sun reporters

The man charged in what a prosecutor described yesterday as a "violent rampage" at a Harford County manufacturing plant stabbed not only his estranged wife but also her current boyfriend, according to newly released court documents.

David Daniel Kennedy - a man with mental health problems whose marriage broke apart a few weeks ago, according to his relatives - told police after his arrest that he wanted to kill his wife, the court records show. As he was ordered held without bond, the woman, Beth Kennedy, remained in serious condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Police said the 32-year-old woman was cut and stabbed in the back, neck, face and chest. The man identified as her boyfriend was discharged from Shock Trauma, but another stabbing victim remained at the hospital in fair condition.

The fourth stabbing victim was discharged from an area hospital.

The plant that was the site of Thursday's attack, Harford Duracool, in the 2100 block of Pulaski Highway near Havre de Grace, was closed yesterday as the company offered counseling to employees, a spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the man who picked up David Kennedy along a highway in the chaotic moments after the stabbings said he thought the bloodied man was a dazed car-crash victim.

"He said he needed a ride, and I said, `Get in,'" said Stephen Wright, an accountant who lives in Churchville. "I thought I was being a Good Samaritan."

Kennedy, 37, is charged with four counts of attempted murder, four counts of first-degree assault and carjacking. He participated in a bail review at District Court in Bel Air via a video feed from the Harford County Detention Center.

Kennedy stared into the camera, saying little except to answer the judge's questions.

Prosecutor David Ryden described the incident at the plant Thursday as "nothing short of a violent rampage that terrorized people in that area and the business." Ryden added that the defendant has a history of violence, with previous convictions for disorderly conduct, battery and two handgun charges.

Court records show that Kennedy's mother sought a temporary protective order against him in 2002, accusing him of using drugs and becoming violent. But she did not appear in court to follow up on the request, records show.

Defense lawyer Marcus Jenkins told the court yesterday that Kennedy has medical issues, with pins in his wrist, three herniated discs in the back and a mental health disorder.

"He is taking prescription drugs and takes scheduled drugs for an addiction," Jenkins said.

District Judge Victor K. Butanis denied Kennedy bail, saying, "I'm very concerned about the safety of the community."

Kennedy wrote in court documents that he works as a part-time framer for Fisher Builders, in Delta, Pa., and had lived with his mother intermittently for the past 20 years.

Yesterday morning, some of his closest relatives - his mother, brother and aunt - expressed shock at the incident, and sorrow for the people who were hurt. They said Kennedy had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Jenny Strong, the suspect's aunt, said that Kennedy had been married for about three years, and that he and his wife had lived in a rented house on a farm near York, Pa., for the past year. She said David Kennedy worked for the farm owner, while his wife worked at Duracool, where he also had worked for a few months in the past.

"He loved her," said Barbara Kennedy, 61, the suspect's mother.

John R. Kennedy, the suspect's brother, said David and Beth Kennedy had been doing well together until recently. But about three weeks ago, the woman left to live elsewhere, he said. He said she tried to get him evicted from the home.

"We're not trying to throw stones or nothing, but if she had just left him alone, none of this would've happened," John Kennedy said.

Christine Hayden, who spent four years with Kennedy and had two children, now 12 and 14, with him, said Kennedy never physically abused her but that he displayed a temper.

Hayden, who lives in Colora in Cecil County, had been fighting Kennedy in court for unpaid child support, but she said he saw and spoke to his children regularly.

Others stabbed in the incident were named in court documents yesterday as Gani Veseli, who was stabbed in the face and was released from an area hospital; Dominick Quartara, the man described as the boyfriend, who was stabbed in the head and neck area and was discharged from the Shock Trauma; and Johnny Poling, who had been cut in the throat and ear and had a fractured jaw. Poling was in fair condition at Shock Trauma yesterday.

The remaining victims were released from area hospitals, said Sgt. Christina Presberry, a spokeswoman for the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

Nine employees were injured after Kennedy, in search of his wife, went to the plant, which manufactures refrigeration systems, Presberry said.

Officials said that, in the parking lot, Kennedy struck several vehicles and a female employee with his truck. Three other female employees were injured trying to escape, police said.

Kennedy's truck also rammed a utility pole and circled wildly until it broke down and was left on the median of U.S. 40, witnesses said. Kennedy carjacked a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee, threatening to kill the driver, according to court documents.

The driver, Wright, said he was westbound on Pulaski Highway when he stopped to pick up a man.

Wright said he stopped the car after driving less than 1,000 feet when he noticed the suspect's knife and two sheriff's cars following. He got out of the Jeep and was not injured. Kennedy drove the Jeep to Havre de Grace, where he was later arrested, police said.

Sun reporters Jennifer McMenamin and Sumathi Reddy contributed to this article.

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