Man who stabbed woman with semen-filled syringe at a grocery store gets 10 years in prison

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CHURCHTON, MD – A 52-year-old man who recently pleaded guilty to stabbing a woman outside a grocery store with a semen-filled syringe back in early 2020 was sentenced to 10 years in prison earlier in September, along with a five-year probation tail.

We at Law Enforcement Today previously reported on the February 18th, 2020, incident where then-51-year-old Thomas Bryon Stemen was captured on store security footage at the Christoper’s Fine Foods in the 5500 block of Shady Side Road stabbing a woman with what was later identified as a syringe.

Stemen jabbed the syringe into the victim’s backside while walking past her as she pushed her shopping cart into a cart return area.

The victim, identified as Katie Peters, at first thought whatever caused the pain felt like something similar to a cigarette burn, which she recalled Stemen turning back to her as she noticed the pain and him saying, “feels like a bee sting, doesn’t it?”

When Peters later returned home, she noticed some redness and what looked to be a small puncture along her buttocks. She also mentioned there was some kind of wet substance on her pants in the area she was stabbed.

Police later reviewed the surveillance video and later received a tip on the suspect’s identity, leading to Stemen’s arrest later in February. Additional footage reviewed by police regarding the incident also revealed that Stemen lunged at least two other potential female victims.

A search warrant that was obtained during the investigation resulted in the discovery of a syringe inside of Stemen’s vehicle along the driver’s side door – which police at the time noted that there was an unknown liquid substance inside of the syringe.

After sending the syringe for testing, it was discovered that the liquid inside of the syringe was semen – which was also a positive hit on Stemen’s DNA.

Additional syringes were also found inside of Stemen’s residence, as well as the outfit he was seen wearing in the released security cam footage.

Stemen later pleaded guilty to one count of felony first-degree assault and one count of second-degree assault, where he was sentenced to 10 years in prison with five years of probation to follow. He was also ordered that he must undergo a substance abuse and a mental health evaluation and receive treatment following his release from prison.

State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess gave the following comments about the case and sentence delivered earlier in September:

“The defendant’s actions were truly horrific. He intentionally went out into our community with the goal of assaulting unsuspecting women. With this sentence, he will be removed from our community for a long time.

I am thankful for the citizens who identified him from video released by law enforcement and that the survivors are able to move forward after this senseless assault.”

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As mentioned earlier, we at Law Enforcement Today previously covered this incident as the case was still being investigated by authorities. Here’s that previous report from February 2020.

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CHURCHTON, MD – Anne Arundel County Police earlier this month arrested a man who they believed intentionally stabbed a woman with a syringe inside of a local grocery store. When police searched the suspect and his car, they discovered more syringes – filled with semen.

On February 25th, 51-year-old Thomas Bryon Stemen was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. The suspect has been accused of stabbing Katie Peters with a syringe at Christoper’s Fine Foods in the 5500 block of Shady Side Road.

Police obtained video surveillance footage of the alleged crime, where the suspect appears to have jabbed something against the victim’s backside.

The incident was reported to have happened on February 18th, and Peters remembers the suspect bumping into her and feeling something akin to a cigarette burn. While speaking to a local news crew, Peters said the suspect made a remark after jabbing her in the backside:

“He turned to me and said, ‘I know it feels like a bee sting, doesn’t it?”

 While the victim was driving home, she stated that the area where she was stabbed was beginning to become very painful:

“I started driving home (and) it started hurting really bad. I called my son and said, ‘Something’s not right, I hope nothing happens. I hope I make it home, I love you.’”

 When police made contact with Stemen, the noted that he’d had a needle in his possession and another inside of his vehicle. Anne Arundel County Police Sgt. Jacklyn Davis commented on the alarming substance found in the syringes:

“What we’re doing now is we need to find out, do additional testing, find out what this victim is up against if she was stabbed with one of those semen-filled syringes.”

 Police noted that the suspect lived down the street from the victim in this case. Stemen had also allegedly come into contact with two other people in attempts to stab them with a syringe, but didn’t manage to inject them. Based upon the brazen nature of the offense, Sgt. Davis believes there could be more unknown victims.

Sgt. Davis said:

“If you’ve seen this video, it’s very aggressive, it’s very deliberate — and that makes us think it’s not his first time doing this.”

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Illegal immigrant who murdered Molly Tibbetts sentenced to life in prison (paid for by us, the taxpayers)

(Originally published September 1st, 2021)

IOWA CITY, IA – Cristhian Bahena Rivera has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the abduction and murder of Molly Tibbetts, three years after the University of Iowa student disappeared while out jogging.

Judge Joel Yates sentenced Rivera under mandatory sentencing guidelines for a first-degree murder conviction.

Rivera, a self-identified illegal alien from Mexico who came to the United States as a teen to work as a farmhand, has been held in custody since his arrest in August 2018.

The defense tried to create doubt about his guilt by suggesting others were responsible for the co-ed’s death including Tibbetts’ boyfriend and a local police officer, but Judge Yates disagreed:

“Mr. Bahena Rivera, you and you alone forever changed the lives of those who loved Mollie Tibbetts.”

Tibbetts vanished while out for a jog in Brooklyn, IA on July 18, 2018. Family and friends became concerned when she did not show up for her summer job at a local daycare center.

Hundreds of volunteers aided police with searches for weeks, but Tibbetts was not located.

Police focused on Rivera after they observed surveillance video of his Chevy Malibu repeatedly driving by Tibbetts as she jogged that night.

In an interview with police following his arrest, Rivera admitted he followed Tibbetts on her evening run the night she was killed.  He claimed he became angered by her when she asked him to leave her alone or she would call the police. Rivera claimed he then “blacked out.”

Rivera told the police that when his “blackout” ended, he found a bleeding Tibbets in the trunk of his car.  He then buried her in an Iowa cornfield.

Following the interview, Rivera led police to her grave.

The Iowa State Medical Examiner determined that Tibbets died of “homicide resulting from multiple sharp force injuries.”

During the sentencing, Tibbitt’s mother addressed Rivera in a victim’s impact statement:

“Mollie was a young woman who simply wanted to go for a quiet run on the evening of July 18 and you chose to violently and sadistically end that life.”

The murder became a poster case for the U.S. immigration debate. During a 2018 rally in Charleston, West Virginia, Then-President Donald Trump said the murder should not have happened because Rivera should not have been in the country:

“You heard about today with the illegal alien coming in very sadly from Mexico. And you saw what happened to that incredible, beautiful, young woman.

“Should have never happened, illegally in our country. We’ve had a huge impact, but the laws are so bad, the immigration laws are such a disgrace. We’re getting it changed but we have to get more Republicans.”

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds spoke out at the time on Twitter:

“Over the past month, thousands of Iowans searched and prayed for Mollie’s safe return. Now, we are called to come together once again to lift up a grieving family. The search for Mollie is over, but the demand for justice has just begun.

“As Iowans, we are heartbroken, and we are angry. We are angry that a broken immigration system allowed a predator like this to live in our community, and we will do all we can bring justice to Mollie’s killer.”

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