Woman Accused of Fatally Stabbing Roommate Opts For Plea in the Middle of Bench Trial

A Baltimore woman from the Easterwood neighborhood opted to plead guilty to fatally stabbing 47-year-old Veronica Freeman in 2020 rather than proceed with a bench trial on Jan. 25.

Leah Harrison began a bench trial before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Jeannie Hong Wednesday morning—a trial that did not proceed after a discussion between defense attorney Warren Brown, the defendant, and her family over the lunch break. The 24-year-old defendant returned to the courtroom in the afternoon to plead guilty to Freeman’s death, including first-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon with the intent to injure, according to the judge’s chambers.

Her sentence is scheduled for May 23 before Judge Hong.

The judge’s chambers said the prosecution agreed to cap Harrison’s sentence at life, suspending all but 40 years, and five years of supervised probation; however, the discussion regarding the length of the sentence is ongoing.

Charges against the defendant stem from an April 27, 2020, incident at a boarding house on the 2000 block of Baker Street, where Harrison and Freeman lived as roommates. Baltimore Police were called to the home for a dispute earlier in the day and returned an hour later when Harrison allegedly stabbed Freeman 21 times and cut her 56 times.

Brown previously informed the court that this was not the first incident between the two roommates. Harrison and her family members allegedly broke into Freeman’s room, stole items, and assaulted the victim about four months before her death. This case was dismissed following Freeman’s murder.

Harrison had initially pleaded not criminally responsible for the crime, citing marijuana-induced psychosis, but she was later found competent to stand trial.

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