An Ohio man with no criminal record was recently sentenced to 21 years in prison for viciously stabbing an assistant prosecutor and her brother, a criminal defense lawyer, earlier this year. Originally charged with attempted murder, the defendant, 43-year old James Terry, pleaded guilty to two counts of felonious assault and tampering with evidence.
Kelly O’Keefe, 32, was beaten, stabbed at least eight times, and suffered a fractured skull. Her younger brother Danny O’Keefe, 27, was stabbed nineteen times in the head, and suffered a mutilated right arm and a lacerated spleen. Kelly O’Keefe at one time dated Terry.
“How this isn’t a double murder case can only be explained as a miracle," said Scott McKinley, Danny O’Keefe’s law partner. “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? He protected his sister from being stabbed to death."
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Ralph Winkler imposed the maximum sentence because he said he did not believe Terry was remorseful and he poses a threat to society.
Terry’s attorney Mike Haas said his client is very remorseful and they could appeal the maximum sentence.
“I don’t think any of us were surprised," Haas said. “It was a very heinous crime but Mr. Terry has lived a very honorable life, he’s never committed a crime and his sole record is three speeding tickets. By all accounts he was a nice and affable guy. Every person I spoke to was in absolute shock that this had happened."