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Mon, Oct. 14

Woman who tried to stab her romantic rival gets 3.5 years

PRESCOTT - Josie Bennett, who tried to stab her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend, then went on a drunken rampage in her car, was sentenced Monday to prison for 3.5 years, followed by four years of probation.

In October of 2010, Bennett, 30, threatened to kill the woman and tried to stab her. Afterward, she got into her car and tried to run down several people before hitting three parked cars, a house and a fence, and finally came to a stop when she hit a brick wall, disabling the vehicle.

In court Monday, her attorney, Eric English, said Bennett is "bright, thoughtful, and she's an alcoholic."

"Her conduct that day is a direct result of her voluntary consumption of alcohol," he added.

About 25 of Bennett's supporters filled the gallery of Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Celé Hancock's courtroom, and several spoke to Hancock, telling her that Bennett had sought treatment and was in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Her sponsor in AA called the incident "a once-in-a-lifetime mistake (that) in no way reflects the person she is."

English agreed, saying, "She's already demonstrated she has a great deal of character" as she voluntarily began a treatment program.

"Over the last year I have spent a lot of time going over my actions of last Oct. 23," Bennett said, in a quiet voice. "I don't know who that person was, but I know it happened and I can't take it back.

"I know that I am supposed to be of service to God and my fellow man."

Hancock said, "This is an unbearably sad situation because it does appear that you did overcome" what Bennett described as a bad childhood. "Yet, you find yourself here in a case that is very dangerous," Hancock added. "We could be deciding a case about people who lost their lives."

"These are not charges that can be easily diminished," she said. "What I can tell you is the work you have done in the past year is something no one can take away."

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