Stabbing case against Edinburg woman dismissed

Tammy Gnegy

WOODSTOCK — The malicious wounding charge against an Edinburg woman who was accused of stabbing her live-in boyfriend was dismissed Friday during a bench trial.

Tammy Lynn Gnegy, 25, was charged with stabbing Phillip Runion on Nov. 16. When Runion took the witness stand to testify, he illustrated the stabbing as an accident, which was a different testimony from how he described the incident before, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Louis Campola said during the trial.

Runion was the prosecution’s first witness in the case, and he explained that he and Gnegy were living together in a mobile home across from his mother’s residence. His mother had custody of the couple’s daughter — now 1 year old — at the time of the incident and still has custody to this day, Runion testified.

Campola asked Runion to describe Nov. 16 to Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp, who was presiding over Friday’s trial.

“That day we were actually doing pretty good,” Runion said.

Runion said that on that night Gnegy went to his mother’s home, where their daughter was. He said that he had drunk three or four beers, but didn’t feel “buzzed” at all. When Gnegy returned to their mobile home, Runion said that she was “extremely disgruntled” and upset with his mother because she allegedly told Gnegy to give up her parental rights and get out of Runion’s life.

He said that the two were arguing when Gnegy grabbed a “butcher knife” from the kitchen and threatened to cut herself with it. She went to the mobile home’s bathroom, locking the bedroom door behind her, Runion said, and he was “pleading” with her to open the door when he heard water running. He broke the door jam to get to her, and sat down beside the bathtub she was lying in.

Gnegy was holding the knife to her wrist, Runion said, and he was asking her to give him the knife. He added that she was crying and “hysterical” after what his mother told her. While talking to her, she stopped holding the knife to her wrist and was holding it with the handle at her chest and the blade pointing upward and outward. Runion tried to get the knife away from Gnegy by lunging forward, placing one hand on Gnegy’s collarbone and the other around the knife’s blade, he testified.

He added that he did not realize he had been stabbed until he saw his chest bleeding.

Campola asked the judge’s permission to treat Runion as a hostile witness, meaning that he would challenge Runion’s testimony in cross-examination because the testimony he was giving during the trial was different from the testimony given during the preliminary hearing and different from what he told the prosecution an hour before the trial began, Campola said.

Charles Ramsey, who was representing Gnegy in this case, did not object to the prosecution treating Runion as a hostile witness because the inconsistent testimony would be in his client’s favor.

Runion said that he did not recall saying that Gnegy extended her arm when he lunged for the knife, adding that it may have been an involuntary reaction to when he had forcefully pushed her down to grab the knife from her.

Campola asked Runion to show the judge his scars, and Runion unbuttoned his shirt to show a small, healed mark on his chest from the incident, which Ramsey said looked almost like a pimple. Runion said he did have to get stitches for his chest wound, and he also suffered small cuts on his fingers from grabbing the knife blade with his hand.

Runion then testified that after he grabbed the knife from Gnegy he dropped it in the bathroom sink, and realized that he had been injured. He went to his mother’s to tell her what just happened and that he “got stabbed” while trying to take the knife. He said that he does recall previously saying that Gnegy stabbed him, rather than that he got stabbed.

He said he went back to his residence and saw that the knife was now in the kitchen sink, and there was blood all over the mobile home. Runion said his interaction with Gnegy when he returned “got physical” and she came after him, but he couldn’t remember how. He said that he did not remember her striking him, then responded to a follow up question from Campola by saying that Gnegy did strike him with a closed fist. He said he had wrestled Gnegy to the ground and was holding her on the floor while his mother called 911.

Both Ramsey and Campola said that Runion was making statements inconsistent with his  testimony on Friday as well as statements inconsistent with prior testimony.

“To be honest, commonwealth’s attorney, it’s kind of a blur,” Runion said to Campola. “I’m frankly to my wit’s end with this case.”

On cross-examination, Runion said that it could be said that the stabbing was an accident and a “reaction to my action.” Gnegy did try to get away from Runion and he came to the knife, Ramsey pointed out, to which Runion agreed. Ramsey challenged Runion’s testimony on how much he had drunk that night, as he previously said it was six 16 ounce beers.

Runion said he didn’t remember saying he grabbed Gnegy by the throat when officers at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital were questioning him immediately after the incident. Runion added that he told investigators at the time that he thought it was an accident and he did not want to press charges.

The prosecution chose to rest its case at this point, and Ramsey moved to strike Runion’s testimony because of its inconsistencies, which Hupp agreed to. Hupp added that without Runion’s testimony, the prosecution does not have a case, so the judge dismissed the charge.

Gnegy still faces an unlawful wounding charge from a separate incident in Frederick County that also involves Runion, and she is being held without bond in Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center on that charge. A jury trial in that case is scheduled for Sept. 8 in Frederick County Circuit Court.