After pleading guilty to the charges, Thomas Stemen received a 10-year prison sentence and five years of supervised release, The Washington Post reports. He also pleaded guilty to second-degree assault after trying to attack a 17-year-old girl with a syringe the same night; she went unharmed. After serving his 10-year sentence, Stemen will have to undergo a substance abuse and mental health evaluation.
Surveillance footage from Feb. 18, 2020 shows the 53-year-old jabbing the syringe into the buttocks of Katie Peters when she was returning her grocery cart after shopping at a store in Churchton, Maryland. She told WTTG that she thought he had burned her with a cigarette. She yelled at him and he responded, “Ya, it felt like a bee sting, didn’t it?”
Footage also showed him trying to jab the 17-year-old girl, as well as one other woman.
“He intentionally went out into our community with the goal of assaulting unsuspecting women,” State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said via a statement.
Peters said the wound began “burning like mad.” When the area became red and raised, she went to the hospital. At that point, she still didn’t know what Stemen had injected in her.
Police identified the man in the surveillance video as Stemen with the help of the community. They eventually got a search warrant and discovered a number of syringes in his home and car that contained an unknown substance. They also found the clothes he was wearing from the footage. After testing the substance in the syringes, authorities realized that it was his semen.