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Maryland judge: 'homicidal, manipulative serial killer' deserved a tougher sentence

Tribune News Service logo Tribune News Service 10/12/2017 By Phil Davis The Capital, Annapolis, Md.

Christopher Allen Scheibe, 29 © The Capital Gazette Christopher Allen Scheibe, 29 A Southern Maryland man was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to two murders dating back to 2012.

During a hearing Wednesday before Circuit Court Judge Paul F. Harris Jr. in Annapolis, Christopher Allen Scheibe, 29, apologized for stabbing Holly Carol Smith, 24, of Dundalk, and Jessica Lynn Lee, 20, of Brooklyn Park to death.

Harris showed no sympathy for Scheibe, calling him a "homicidal, manipulative serial killer."

He dismissed arguments by Scheibe's attorneys that mental illness was a significant factor in the two killings. "He knew enough to be a very dangerous person," Harris said. "If I had it my way, this gentleman would never see the light of day."

The Mechanicsville resident pleaded guilty last month under an agreement with the Anne Arundel County State's Attorney's Office to first-degree murder in the death of Smith in 2016.

He entered an Alford plea to second-degree murder in the death of Lee in 2012, which allowed him to maintain his innocence while admitting prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.

The hearing was an emotional one that included striking contrasts. Lee's family provided testimony about the impact she had on them.

Ann Duvall, Lee's mother, said she was satisfied with the life sentence. "I just wanted justice for Jess and for her little girl," she said.

Scheibe and his attorneys, however, described a long history of mental health issues and neglect by his family. Prosecutors and Schibe's attorneys agreed to a life sentence with the possibility of parole prior to Wednesday's hearing. Scheibe's attorneys said they were not trying to alter the sentencing in describing his past but only adding context. Smith's family was not at Wednesday's hearing. Smith was found stabbed to death in woods near an industrial complex in the 2000 block of Industrial Drive in Annapolis.

Police charged Scheibe after finding her blood and DNA evidence in the seat of a stolen vehicle that Scheibe parked near where her body was found in May last year. He was charged in June, weeks after the discovery of her body. Two months later, police charged Scheibe in the 2012 death of Lee, whose body was found in Pasadena about three months after she went missing.

Lee, a developmentally disabled mother of a young child, was found in August 2012 in woods behind Ollie's Bargain Outlet in the 8100 block of Ritchie Highway.

In statements to police, Scheibe admitted killing both women and may have had sex with both. Lee and Smith suffered stab wounds to the head, face and upper torso.

In both cases, Scheibe checked himself into the hospital with cuts after the murders. He also kept a manifesto-type journal, prosecutors have said. After his arrest, Scheibe was ordered held at the Patuxent Institution, a correctional mental health center in Jessup. He was later transferred to the Eastern Correctional Institution on the Eastern Shore.

Police have said they don't believe Scheibe killed at random and instead knew the women briefly before they were killed. He was identified as a person of interest in Lee's death shortly after her body was discovered.

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