By Dave Rogers
---- — NEWBURYPORT — An Amesbury man accused of almost stabbing a female acquaintance to death with a kitchen knife last September was arraigned on attempted murder and other charges at Salem Superior Court last week and continues to be held without bail pending a second dangerousness hearing scheduled for Feb. 12.
Shawn A. McDermit, 41, of 35 Macy Terrace was charged with attempted murder, mayhem, domestic assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after allegedly stabbing a woman in the face and trying to suffocate her with a pillow. When police arrived at his apartment, McDermit admitted trying to kill the victim, but lamented not using a sharper knife, according to local police.
An Essex County District Attorney’s office spokesperson said Salem Superior Court Judge John Lu ordered McDermit held without bail following his Jan. 23 arraignment. The original charges filed in Newburyport District Court were dismissed following his arraignment in Salem, the spokesperson added.
A dangerousness hearing, also called a 58A hearing, is held to determine whether a suspect is considered too much of a risk to society or the victim to be granted bail.
His son, Kennith S. McDermit, 19, who was accused of threatening to finish the job his father started, was also arrested as a result of the incident and charged with threatening to commit murder, threatening to commit assault and battery, assault and intimidation of a witness. Those charges were dismissed in early November at the victim’s request.
Several police officers responded to the scene of the alleged attack, which occurred on Saturday, Sept. 8, around 10 p.m. According to reports, police found the victim lying on the floor of the living room pressing a towel to her face to staunch the flow of blood, which was visible on her clothes, towel and skin.
Police said Shawn McDermit was sitting in a living room smoking a cigarette. Police immediately handcuffed the suspect and walked him to the hallway. It is there that he allegedly told police he should have used a sharper knife.
In his report, Sgt. Glenn Chaput said the suspect had rolled on top of the victim while she was lying in bed, stabbed her in the face with a kitchen knife and then tried to smother her with a pillow. Amesbury paramedics soon arrived at the scene and treated her injuries. Police placed a 13-inch kitchen knife in an evidence bag, took photos of the scene and secured pillows and blankets.
During booking, Shawn McDermit made it clear he was homicidal and that he wanted to kill the victim, claiming she had ruined his family, police reported. He told police he had planned how he was going to kill her for three days. He also told police he had sent his children a text stating how much he loved them and that he didn’t think he’d ever see them again.
Police said the day after the assault report, the victim, who was staying at a different location, was allegedly approached by Kennith McDermit, who at first appeared helpful and friendly. But soon after, he became enraged and threatened to kill her, police said.