Scranton woman arraigned on homicide charge

Mar. 5—A 40-year-old woman accused of fatally stabbing her fiancé wounded herself to bolster a claim she acted in self-defense, Scranton police charged today.

Eileen Julie Dougherty, of 922 Delaware St., remained silent during a homicide arraignment before Magisterial District Judge Paul J. Ware, held via video conference. She was jailed at the Lackawanna County Prison since her arrest Wednesday in the stabbing death of George Shencavitz, 31.

During the arraignment, Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell said Dougherty is "a danger to society, she is a danger to herself." She remains jailed without bail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled Wednesday at 11 a.m. She did not have a lawyer with her during the arraignment, but Powell said later attorney Joe D'Andrea, of Dunmore, was representing her.

D'Andrea said he was arranging to speak with his client.

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"I'm trying to get a handle on all the facts and what really happened," D'Andrea said.

Scranton police initially arrested Dougherty on two counts of aggravated assault after stabbing Shencavitz during an argument at their home Wednesday night. The initial criminal complaint was withdrawn so investigators could charge her with criminal homicide.

Shencavitz threatened to report Dougherty, who was under supervision for a prior conviction for humiliating a mentally disabled woman, violated the conditions of her home confinement.

Asked about what that violation was, Powell said he could not comment on the investigation.

According to a criminal complaint filed today , authorities responded to the couple's Delaware Avenue home at about 9:20 p.m. as Shencavitz fled on foot while on the phone with 911. Police found him 1 1/2 blocks away with multiple stab wounds in his abdomen, chest and back. He told officers his "girlfriend" stabbed him.

An ambulance rushed him to Geisinger Community Medical Center for emergency surgery, but he died shortly after 11 p.m.

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Dougherty admitted she stabbed him, according to police. However, she did so because they were fighting. She told investigators he had come after her with a knife, punched her in the face and cut her.

That wasn't true, police said. During an interview later with Detectives Ed McIntyre and Christian Gowarty, she admitted her wounds were self-inflicted. She said she felt guilty and wanted to die.

In an affidavit, authorities wrote they believe she harmed herself to further her story she acted in self-defense.

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Police listened to the 911 call Shencavtiz placed. He frantically yelled into the phone he had been stabbed twice and needed help. A "commotion" was heard over the phone and he reported he was stabbed again, police said.

"Eileen, stop, if you keep stabbing me I'm gonna die," he said, according to the criminal complaint.

During the interview with detectives, Dougherty said she was afraid when she stabbed him the first two times. She said she felt anger when she stabbed him the third time in the back.

In addition to homicide, Dougherty is charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and false reports.

Contact the writer: [email protected], 570-348-9100, x5187; @jkohutTT on Twitter.

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