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Dilworth woman forgives husband for stabbing her in chest

Kenton Wayne Stillday

MOORHEAD - The wife of a man sentenced to almost 11 years in prison Monday for stabbing her in the chest said she forgives him and that he was sleep-deprived and blacking out often at the time.

Raven Stillday suffered a punctured lung June 25 when her estranged husband, Kenton Wayne Stillday, 38, grabbed a knife, chased her out of her Dilworth mobile home, pinned her to the ground and told her "If I can't have you, no one will," before stabbing her in the upper left chest just above her heart, court records state.

Kenton Stillday pleaded guilty Dec. 14 to second-degree attempted murder in a plea agreement in Clay County District Court.

Judge Lisa Borgen accepted the recommended punishment Monday, sentencing Stillday to 10 years and 10½ months in prison. With good behavior, he will serve seven years and three months behind bars and the rest on supervised probation. He received credit for 204 days in jail.

In a victim impact statement, Raven Stillday called her husband a great father to their six children and said he had never been physically abusive in the 14 years she had known him.

"Kenton is a good man, and I forgive him for everything that happened," she said in the statement, read aloud in court by Assistant County Attorney Heidi Davies.

Kenton Stillday had been working six days a week to support their kids and his three kids from a previous relationship, his wife said.

"He wasn't sleeping much," she said after the hearing. "He was blacking out quite a bit."

Kenton Stillday told a detective that he had found text messages to another man on Raven Stillday's phone, and they were arguing about it when she made a comment to him and he blacked out. He said he recalled grabbing the knife but didn't remember anything else until he found himself over her with the weapon, court documents state.

Raven Stillday asked Borgen to impose a lighter sentence, saying sending her husband to prison will be emotionally and financially hurtful to their kids.

The state recognizes the financial impact on the family, Davis said, but she noted that if the angle of the knife had been different, "there'd be a whole different outcome." She said the seriousness of the crime was "downplayed to a really unconscionable degree" by those involved.

Kenton Stillday declined to speak on his own behalf. Borgen said she believed he was remorseful.

"But the fact remains that your anger ... it just got the better of you that day, and if it weren't for the grace of God, that woman would be dead," she said.