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Woman charged in P.G. stabbing involved in similar 2005 incident

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A woman accused of stabbing another woman outside a Lanham Target store Tuesday morning was the same woman who spent six years in a mental hospital after a similar attack at a Bethesda Nordstrom department store, police said.

Tuesday's stabbing, which occurred around 9:45 a.m. in the Vista Gardens Marketplace, unfolded much as did the 2005 attack at Westfield Montgomery mall in Bethesda, during which Antoinette C. Starks stabbed two women, Prince George's County police spokesman Cpl. Henry Tippett said.

Ms. Starks, 55, attempted to buy several knives from the Target store Tuesday when her credit card was declined, Cpl. Tippett said. Nevertheless, she left the store with four knives in hand and began stabbing a woman she encountered outside.

An off-duty county police officer was alerted to the stabbing by a passer-by and used a Taser to subdue Ms. Starks before arresting her, police said.

The woman who was stabbed was taken to a hospital. She was listed in stable condition Tuesday afternoon.

Ms. Starks was released from Clifton T. Perkins Hospital in August and had been living in a halfway house in Bowie, according to Montgomery County Circuit Court documents and county police. She spent six years in the state psychiatric hospital after she was declared not criminally responsible for the previous stabbing.

During the 2005 incident, Ms. Starks chased shoppers through the store with four butcher knives. She stabbed two women, who later sued Nordstrom for not providing adequate warning to shoppers for them to get out of harm's way. A Montgomery County jury awarded $1.6 million to the two women in April, according to news reports.

An administrative law judge's 2010 report on Ms. Starks stated she has been free of symptoms of her paranoid schizophrenia since 2007, had taken her medications daily and displayed a good work ethic while hospitalized, according to a report at the time in The Washington Post.

Ms. Starks is charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder in Tuesday's stabbing, police said.

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