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Attempted homicide charges withdrawn

| Thursday, Feb. 21, 2002

Attempted homicide charges filed against a Connellsville man in connection with the stabbing of two women in October were withdrawn Wednesday, but the defendant is expected to stand trial on several other charges.

Frederick A. Sherwood Jr., 25, of 132 N. Eighth St., waived his right to a preliminary hearing yesterday.

"The commonwealth may have had difficulty meeting the elements of criminal attempt (to commit) homicide," said Phyllis Jin, Fayette County assistant district attorney, in explaining why the prosecution agreed to drop the attempted homicide charges.

Sherwood, however, remains charged with two counts each of aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment filed by Connellsville police in connection with the Oct. 23 stabbings of Alisha Basinger and Stephanie Ritenour. Both women have since recovered from their injuries and attended the hearing yesterday at the office of Connellsville District Justice Ronald Haggerty Sr.

Police allege that Sherwood was involved in a domestic dispute with Ritenour at the 132 N. Eighth St. address, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed with the complaint.

The argument escalated into a physical confrontation, and then Sherwood allegedly took a knife from the kitchen and first stabbed Basinger several times, then stabbed Ritenour before cutting his own throat.

After yesterday's proceedings, Sherwood was returned to the Fayette County Prison where he has been held on $25,000 bond since his arrest. If he is released on bail, Sherwood will be ordered to have no contact with the victims, Jin said.

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