Belpre Teen Sentenced; Victim Asks For Maximum

By: WTAP News
By: WTAP News

John Paul Lee sat in the court room while his victim asked for the maximum sentence. Washington County Judge Susan Boyer sentences him to 17 years.

Prosecutors say 17-year-old John Paul Lee stabbed his neighbor six times, while her three year old son was asleep.

Lee plead guilty to aggravated burglary and felonious assault, three other charges, including attempted murder, were dismissed.

"We all know why he was at my house that night, I saw it in his eyes. He told police he had dreams of stabbing me and that's what he was there to do," the victim says as she speaks out in court.

The victim relived the night of the stabbing in front of Judge Boyer, asking for the maximum sentencing for a 17-year-old who prosecutors say tried to kill her.

"Just because he wasn't successful in what he came there to do that night doesn't mean he should receive any less of a punishment," continues the victim.

John Paul Lee was 15-years-old at the time of the stabbing, but was tried as an adult.

Defense attorney Rolf Baumgartel says he does not belittle what happened but says age has a lot to do with it. He continues to say Lee was and is still a boy, saying his brain not fully developed.

While Lee was found competent to stand trial, both the judge and Baumgartel acknowledged Lee's mental health.

"(Lee) has a history of serious mental illness conditions, he has been in counseling, hospitalization for most of his life. His mental health situation has been handled with medication," says Washington County Judge Susan Boyer. "He does have a prior criminal record as a juvenile specifically for gross sexual imposition. There is a pattern of drug and alcohol abuse related to the defense."

The victim asked for the max sentence, saying it was best to protect the entire community. She explained sentencing of previous criminal acts by Lee didn't stop him. She spoke about what happened the night she was stabbed.

"As soon as he was released from probation he broke into my home with a knife he brought from his home and beat and stabbed me repeatedly. If I hadn't... protected myself, I wouldn't be alive today. This was an attempted murder," continues the victim.

Judge Boyer looked at Lee while explaining the seriousness of the crime. "(The victim) was not alone in her house, she had a three year old son, she stayed in the hallway to protect him after she heard her defendant in her home after he had left the hallway outside her bedroom. While she was on the phone with police she stood in that hallway to protect her son when the defendant returned with a knife and stabbed her."

"He caused serious psychological harm to her .There is nothing here that makes this offense less serious," Judge Boyer continues on to say.

The victim asked the court to prevent Lee from doing worse in the future, "I will have to deal with this for the rest of my life he should have to deal with it for as long as the state will allow."

Ultimately Judge Boyer sentenced Lee to 13 years.

"First degree felony for a sentence of ten years. And for count four of this indictment that's for felonious assault for a definite sentence of seven years.," Judge Boyer told Lee.


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