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Dave Roepke, Published April 08 2010

Stabbing suspect enters guilty plea

After a night of drinking heavily on New Year’s Eve, Eloy Cantu got jealous and mad when an on-again, off-again girlfriend decided to leave – another man and a bottle of brandy in tow.

When Cantu tried to stop her, she hit him and she fell to the floor.

“That’s when things got out of hand,” the 33-year-old said as he gave a tearful guilty plea to first-degree assault on Wednesday in Clay County District Court.

Cantu, who had initially faced an attempted murder charge, admitted he didn’t feel his life was in danger. He had just been spurned and wanted payback, he told Judge Lisa Borgen.

“I didn’t want to kill her. I just wanted to inflict pain for what she was doing to me,” Cantu said, admitting to stabbing the woman in the back, legs and stomach more than a dozen times.

In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dismissed the attempted murder charges and Cantu’s lawyer agreed to a joint recommendation of the guideline sentencing of 98 months, two months more than eight years.

Cantu had been dating the victim, Connie Jackson, on and off for 10 years, he said. At the time of the stabbing, they were not romantically involved and were just friends, he said.

Assistant Clay County Attorney Pamela Harris said Jackson discussed the plea deal with a representative from Clay County’s victim advocacy program.

Though she didn’t object at that time, prosecutors were unable to contact her this week to discuss the deal because she didn’t return phone messages, Harris said.

The assault was reported by Jackson’s daughter at about 5:15 a.m. Jan. 1, after she and her own daughter hid in a bedroom.

When police arrived at 214 16th St. S., they kicked down the door and found Cantu lying on the head and shoulders of Jackson, who was moaning in pain.

Cantu will be sentenced in a hearing on May 10.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535