A 33-year-old man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for stabbing his former girlfriend in her chest, arm, back and legs at her Gulfport residence.
Merlin Kent Williams received the maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for aggravated assault Wednesday night after a Harrison County jury found him guilty, District Attorney Joel Smith said.
Circuit Judge Chris Schmidt suspended five years of the sentence, leaving Williams 15 to serve.
Gulfport police had arrested Williams the same day of the crime, July 5, 2016, after finding him at a relative’s home.
A jury deliberated about 30 minutes Wednesday night and returned a guilty verdict, Smith said in a news release.
The victim testified Williams started an argument at her residence on Pine Avenue, and he ordered her to stay in her bedroom when she tried to leave the room, Smith said.
The victim’s roommate interrupted the assault by banging on the door and calling 911, according to ADA Patti Simpson, who prosecuted the case with ADA Mitch Owen. Williams fled wile the victim stumbled to the front porch, they said.
Police responded within minutes and the woman was taken to a hospital, prosecutors said. Medical testimony showed the woman had several stab wounds and a collapsed lung.
Prosecutors said Williams had been released from jail a week earlier after serving six months for a misdemeanor domestic assault conviction.
“Violent crime like this cannot be tolerated,” Smith said.
“This victim showed commendable bravery in her testimony and thankfully received justice for the crimes committed against her.”