Washington man sentenced in stabbing
“I don’t know if he will ever fully recover,” Posey said at Kearnes’ plea and sentencing hearing, conducted Monday in Yamhill County Circuit Court by Judge Cal Tichenor.
Tichenor sentenced Kearnes, 20, of Greenacres, Wash., to 70 months in prison — almost six years — after he pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree assault, a Class B felony falling under tough Measure 11 sentencing mandates. He will be placed on 36 months post-prison supervision when he completes his sentence, and will be held responsible for restitution in an amount yet to be determined.
Greenacres is in Spokane County in Eastern Washington, but Kearnes was staying in Dayton with family at the time, according to Capt. Tim Svenson of the sheriff’s office.
A confrontation involving the 18-year-old victim, the defendant and other individuals led to the stabbing, Deputy District Attorney Meuy Caho told the court. She said Kearnes plunged a steak knife with a four-inch serrated blade into Posey’s upper back as he tried to walk away.
Posey managed to get home on his own. He was found by his mother between 2 and 3 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 14, and she called 911.
Deputies recovered a blood-stained knife, interviewed several witnesses and began searching for Kearnes after identifying him as the suspect. He turned himself in at the sheriff’s office later that day.
Lourie Posey credited Carlton Fire District medics, sheriff’s office deputies and physicians at the Willamette Valley Medical Center for saving her son’s life.
The victim did not attend the hearing, but his sister read a statement on his behalf.
He said he knows he could have lost his life that night and relives the experiences through recurring flashbacks. He said he no longer feels safe anywhere.
With members of the Posey family sitting on one side of the courtroom and members of the Kearnes family on the other, emotions started to escalate as the hearing progressed, and additional deputies were called in.
A member of Kearnes’ family raised his hand and asked Tichenor if he could speak on the defendant’s behalf. Tichenor gave him a hearing, along with Kearnes’ court-appointed defense attorney, Ted Coran of Salem.
Coran told the court, “He does not condone his actions. He wants you to know this was not a random, spontaneous action. There was an altercation, part of which was minimized by the state.”
Coran said the incident was life-altering for all concerned and nothing can justify it. He said Kearnes knew what he did was wrong and was sorry for it.
This is Kearnes’ first Oregon conviction, but he has assault and burglary convictions in Washington, according to Chao.