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Dave Roepke, Published May 11 2010

Judge: Stabbing sentence too light

In a sentence deemed not long enough by the judge handing it down, a 33-year-old Moorhead man guilty of stabbing his ex-girlfriend on New Year’s Day was sentenced Monday to eight years and two months in prison.

Eloy Cantu was initially charged with attempted murder in the attack, but the charge was lowered to first-degree assault in a deal to secure his April 7 guilty plea.

Cantu admitted in his plea to stabbing Connie Jackson with a steak knife more than a dozen times at 214 16th St. S., telling Clay County District Court Judge Lisa Borgen he was trying to inflict pain upon but not kill the woman he’d dated on and off for 10 years.

If Cantu avoids discipline issues in prison, he will be eligible for release after about five and a half years, two-thirds of the full sentence.

In a victim impact statement read in court Monday by a prosecutor, Jackson said Cantu should get more time in prison. Though she honored the 98-month term in prison recommended in the plea deal, Borgen said she agreed with Jackson.

“Quite frankly, you’re not getting what you deserve,” Borgen told Cantu, calling him the “epitome” of a domestic abuser. “You act like she deserved everything she got.”

The 98-month term is the state’s guideline sentence, although a pre-sentence investigation suggested a longer term of 117 months.

Jackson said in her May 5 statement that she could not work for several weeks after the attack by the man her granddaughter refers to as “a monster.” She said she still fears Cantu might have someone hurt her.

“My daily routine is I’ve got to be doing something to keep Eloy off my mind,” she wrote in the statement.

The sentencing investigation suggested the longer prison term in part because Cantu has not shown remorse, an assertion his attorney denied.

“He certainly showed what I thought to be remorse,” said defense attorney Kenneth Kludt.

Cantu said in the hearing that he thought he was still owed an apology for things Jackson said to him.

“It hurts because I love her. But what can I do? I can’t change what I did,” he said.

After Cantu’s statement, Borgen told him he harbors resentment toward women and blasted him for blaming Jackson for an attack the judge said he has not apologized for.

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