Criminal Justice

1st Offender, Once a Court Employee, Gets 21-Year Maximum in Attack on Prosecutor and Her Brother


Beaten and stabbed at least eight times by her ex-boyfriend earlier this year, an Ohio prosecutor told a visiting judge today of regaining consciousness at home in a pool of her own blood and finding her younger brother, a criminal defense lawyer who had been beaten and stabbed 19 times as he protected her, lying nearby.

Both Kelly O’Keefe, 32, an assistant Butler County prosecutor, and attorney Danny O’Keefe, 27, somehow survived the attack by James Terry V, 43, a former Butler County court employee, according to the Dayton Daily News and the Cincinnati Enquirer.

But “how this isn’t a double murder case can only be explained as a miracle,” Danny O’Keefe’s law partner, Scott McKinley, told the court. “Right now Danny should be continuing to build his practice as a criminal defense lawyer and pursuing his dream. Instead he is here, facing the man that has caused him to suffer so much … What did he do to deserve this?”

Terry, who was originally charged with attempted aggravated murder, apologized in court and is very remorseful, according to his attorney, Mike Haas.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of felonious assault and tampering with evidence in the Butler County Common Pleas Court case.

Saying that the injuries to the victims are the worst he has seen in the nearly 30 years he has worked in the court system, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Ralph Winkler sentenced Terry today to the maximum, 21 years, the Enquirer reports.

Haas said Terry, who has only three speeding tickets on his record, may appeal the sentence.

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