No Jail Time for Woman Who Stabbed Husband

No Jail Time for Woman Who Stabbed Husband

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A woman who reportedly suffered years of domestic violence from her husband won't go to jail for stabbing her spouse in the back.

Though Timothy Downing almost bled to death from his wound, he told 3rd District Judge William Barrett that he didn't want his wife, Shona, to be locked up.

Prosecutors had been asking for a one-year sentence.

During a sentencing hearing last week, defense attorneys, therapists and church members all said Shona Downing had been punished enough by years of domestic abuse.

The judge placed Shona Downing on 36 months' probation and ordered 75 hours of community service and continued substance abuse and domestic violence counseling. "She's got more support than 99 percent of the people I see," Barrett said. "I think I'm doing the right thing. I hope I'm doing the right thing."

The stabbing happened during a drunken argument in October, according to court papers.

Shona Downing stuck a 6-inch-long steak knife into her husband's back as their children, ages 3 and 7, watched. The children ran to a neighbor's home, but played for four hours before mentioning the stabbing.

Meanwhile, Shona Downing passed out. Police found Timothy Downing unconscious in the shower. Shona Downing was charged with attempted murder and two counts of felony child abuse, for violence in the presence of her children. She pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse and a reduced count of aggravated assault.

Arguing for jail time, prosecutor Michael Postma on Friday said Timothy Downing would "without a doubt" be sent to prison if he had stabbed his wife. "If the roles were reversed, we wouldn't be having this hand-wringing session," Postma claimed. "What happened to the victim cannot be ignored. He had four surgeries. His spleen was removed." Postma said many battered women simply leave their husbands. He said Shona Downing had that same choice.

The judge ordered the couple to have no contact with each other.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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