2012-10-24 / Local & State

Maryland Woman Pleads In Attempted Murder Case

Sarah Sipes to be sentenced for aggravated assault
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Sarah Sipes Sarah Sipes NEWS EDITOR

A Hancock, Md., woman accused of shooting her boyfriend in the groin during a heated argument will be sentenced in December after having entered a no-contest-plea last week to aggravated assault.

Twenty-six-year-old Sarah Lynn Sipes entered the plea of “nolo contendre” before Fulton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Shawn Meyers on Tuesday, October 16. Additional charges involving criminal attempt-homicide and aggravated assault will be dismissed with prejudice, according to Fulton County District Attorney Travis Kendall.

In addition to agreeing to dismiss the charges, the district attorney also announced during the court proceeding the commonwealth “will stand mute” during sentencing scheduled for December 11. The maximum penalty for aggravated assault, a second- degree felony, is 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Furthermore, Kendall told the court Sipes was intoxicated the evening of January 7 either through alcohol or drugs. He said what recollection she would have of the chain of events leading to the shooting of her boyfriend, John Russell Garland of McConnellsburg, would be blurred or inaccurate.

A previous no-contact order issued following the shooting has been lifted, he added.

Kendall read aloud portions of the affidavit of probable cause filed in the case by Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Michael Davis. The document says state police were alerted to the shooting at the Garland residence just prior to 10:30 p.m. on January 7 when they received notification from 911 dispatchers of a man shot in the leg. Until police and emergency responders arrived at the scene located at 15834 Great Cove Road, Garland’s son, Bradley Ray Starliper, performed first aid and used his belt as a tourniquet to help slow the bleeding.

Starliper, along with his girlfriend, reportedly witnessed the shooting and argument between Garland and Sipes, police said. The affidavit indicates Garland and Sipes had initially been arguing about her being “drunk and pregnant.”

“ ... At one point the defendant (Sipes) passed out and fell to the floor and could not get up,” said Trooper Davis in the charging documents. Sipes was reportedly carried upstairs to bed where she remained for several hours until Garland reportedly joined her at around 10 p.m. that evening. Garland, the affidavit said, returned downstairs 10 minutes later and grabbed several household knives from the kitchen. Garland is accused of repeatedly yelling upstairs for Sipes to “kill” him.

The argument reportedly continued downstairs, and Garland offered to get the keys to his gun cabinet, police said.

“Starliper related the victim (Garland) loaded the gun and handed it to the defendant and said ‘kill me.’ Starliper related the defendant took the gun and told the victim ‘I’m going to blow your guts out.’ He related the defendant had the gun pointed in the direction of the victim, and she lowered the gun and it went off.”

Kendall said last Tuesday Garland suffered “extremely serious” injuries during the incident. He had been treated at a trauma center in York, Pa.

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