Woman jailed for attempted murder in attack on pregnant Damascus woman
Victim goes into labor after assault, her baby is expected to be fine
A 38-year-old woman who police said shocked her boyfriend's pregnant daughter-in-law numerous times with a Taser will remain in jail, charged with what prosecutors say is one of the most bizarre crimes they have seen.
Montgomery County District Court Judge William G. Simmons ordered Christine Renee Devaux of Monrovia detained without bail Monday after hearing prosecutors outline charges of attempted murder, burglary and assault.
Devaux was dating the victim's father-in-law, Bruce Mattson of the 3600 block of Melinda Court in Monrovia, Montgomery County Deputy State's Attorney John Maloney said. He speculated that she considered the victim, her unborn child and husband a threat to her relationship.
The victim, who is 35½ weeks pregnant, returned home earlier than expected Friday, Maloney said. She entered her house in the 24000 block of Sugar Cane Lane in Damascus around 3:45 p.m. and noticed two white plastic bags on the kitchen floor. Realizing someone might be in the house, she was trying to leave when she saw Devaux in the great room, near a rear door.
Devaux was wearing the victim's navy blue sweatshirt, a surgical cap and gloves, Maloney said.
The victim asked Devaux what she was doing in the house because she did not have permission to be there and did not have a key. Devaux responded by shocking the victim with a Taser, according to police charging documents.
The woman fell to the floor, unable to move while Devaus contiinued shocking her. Fearing Devaux wanted to kill her unborn child, the victim freed herself and tried to get out the front door, according to charging documents. Devaux blocked the door and would not allow her to leave.
The victim had severe pain in her abdomen and, fearing for the baby's life, tried to persuade Devaux to let her out to get the baby checked.
Devaux said, "I never wanted it to come to this," but did not budge, the charging documents state.
The two struggled. The victim grabbed Devaux's hair and pulled her out of the way, then ran to a neighbor's house and called police.
The confrontation lasted about 30 minutes, police said.
"The victim in this case really did fight off her attacker and made her own escape she's a very brave woman," State's Attorney John McCarthy said after the hearing.
The victim was taken to a hospital in labor, he said. Doctors were able to stop the labor and she now is recuperating at home, McCarthy said. The baby is expected to be fine.
Police investigators found about 50 feet of wire in a bundle on a kitchen counter. The victim's pepper spray had been moved from its usual storage location, according to charging documents.
The woman had scratches on her arms, redness on her chest from the Taser and bruises on her ankle and knee.
After the attack, Devaux drove to her boyfriend's home, Maloney said. She carried a rifle, a BB gun and ammunition into the house, he said. Devaux told police she was considering using the guns to commit suicide.
Instead, she left the house and checked into the Comfort Inn motel on West Patrick Street in Frederick, said Capt. Paul Starks, a Montgomery County Police spokesman. She told police she was headed to her parents' home in Massachusetts, where she grew up.
By midnight Friday, Montgomery County Police had tracked Devaux and, with the help of the Frederick Police Department and the FBI, lured Devaux out of her room, said Cpl. Dan Friz, a Montgomery County Police spokesman. They drove a car near Devaux's and told her a car had crashed into hers in the parking lot.
"They completely caught her off guard," he said.
Devaux is charged with one count of attempted first-degree murder, one count of first-degree assault, one count of first-degree burglary, one count of possession of a dangerous weapon with the intent to injure, one count of second-degree assault and one count of false imprisonment.
Devaux faces a maximum penalty of life in prison for the attempted first-degree murder charge, 25 years for the first-degree assault charge and 20 years for the first-degree burglary charge. The other charges each carry penalties of up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $2,500.
On Monday, Devaux's family left the courthouse in Rockville in silence, chased by television reporters and cameras. Her attorney, Timothy Sullivan, asked the judge to set a reasonable bail and release Devaux to a relative in Maryland or one in McLean, Va.
Devaux is a medical student in New Zealand on a medical leave of absence from her studies after a bicycle accident, Sullivan said. She has a graduate degree in economics from George Washington University.
She worked at the National Institute of Standards and technology in Gaithersburg as a standards specialist from 1997 to 2004, said institute spokesman Ben Stein. Mattson is the acting associate director of the institute's Technology Services laboratory in Gaithersburg.
Police are not sure how long Devaux has lived in this area, Starks said. Devaux told police she lived in the 3800 block in Melinda Court in Monrovia, but investigators are not certain that is her permanent address, he said.
"This is a very bizarre case, the facts are very unusual," McCarthy said.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 2.
Staff Writer Amber Parcher contributed to this story.