Ogden Teenagers Charged with Stabbing Jail Guard

Ogden Teenagers Charged with Stabbing Jail Guard

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ROY, Utah (AP) -- Authorities charged two Ogden girls with stabbing a guard in an unsuccessful plot to break out of the Weber Valley Juvenile Detention Center.

Melinda Chasteen and Jessica Grundie, both 15, will be tried as adults in 2nd District Court.

They were charged Friday with three felony offenses -- attempted aggravated murder, attempted aggravated escape, and possessing a deadly weapon in a jail.

The teenagers were accused of luring a guard to their cell before midnight Dec. 1 and stabbing her in the neck with a smuggled knife. They planned to kill that guard and at least two others, Roy Police Detective Gary Weeks said.

"Had they got past the first one, they probably would have carried out their plan," Weeks said.

Second District Court Judge L. Kent Bachman said there was evidence the girls spent three days planning the escape. He said they planned to slice the vocal chords of the first guard and grab her jail keys, open other cell doors and take over the control center, finally escaping with staffers' car keys.

The girls wrote a message in soap on their cell door, "Where'd we go?"

Bachman ruled the teenagers "came within inches" of carrying out "a serious adult act" and should be tried as adults. Charges against two other conspirators remain in juvenile court.

A disposition hearing for Chasteen and Grundie was set for March 18 before 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones.

The guard has recovered from her stab wounds, which struck her collar bone.

Both defendants have been in and out of detention for years and have a history of behavioral problems and health disorders, according to police records. They were moved to Weber County Jail.

George Handy, a lawyer who represents Grundie's "brokenhearted" father, said the father had turned in the girl for stealing her mother's car.

"She's going to end up doing five-to-life in prison, and it might as well be life," Handy told the Standard-Examiner of Ogden.

The charges allege Jessica Grundie used the knife that was smuggled into jail in a heel of Chasteen's shoes.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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