TACOMA, Wash. — The only reason Roger Kareem Woodard’s ex-wife survived after he repeatedly stabbed her is because neighbors heard the woman call for help and came to her aid.
“If you lived out in a rural area, you’d be facing murder today,” Pierce County Superior Court Judge Susan Adams said before she sentenced Woodard.
Adams gave him an exceptional sentence of 40 years, above his standard range.
The 38-year-old was convicted of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree burglary following a bench trial last year.
Neighbors found the woman in the backyard of her Bonney Lake home Sept. 26, 2019, and deputies who responded found blood throughout the house.
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A letter she wrote the court prior to sentencing read in part: “He stole the innocence of my three young children, who will never live a normal life again. Abandoning them for life with selfish, irresponsible and calculated choices.”
The woman has scars from the attack, which happened in front of the children, the prosecution said. They told the court the family lost their home and support system after what happened, and that the entire neighborhood was affected by the attack.
They asked the judge to sentence him to 60 years.
Defense attorney Bryan Hershman told the court his client’s behavior on that night was “dramatically different from every other night of his 38 years of life.”
He asked the court to give Woodard a standard range sentence, which he argued would still be “massive.”
“Do we need to send somebody away for 720 months?” he asked.
That’d be a life sentence for his client, he said. When it was Woodard’s turn to address the court, he also said that what happened was one night of his life, that he takes responsibility, and that he apologizes to everyone affected.
“I know you a little,” Adams told Woodard before sentencing him. “I spent many days in court, and I learned a lot about you and your family and what you’re capable of doing.”
The judge said the attack was “one of the most gruesome and horrific crimes” she’s seen in her career, and that it’s “a miracle” the woman survived after he “left her for dead” in the backyard.
Adams told Woodard that he’d devastated the lives of the woman and children, and that she didn’t see him showing remorse.
“She wrote ‘help’ in her own blood on a kitchen island, because she wanted somebody to know when she was gone what she endured,” the judge said.
His actions, she told him, were not self-defense.
“I’ve never seen a trial where witnesses two years later are coming in and are barely able to speak, they are so traumatized by what they saw,” Adams said. “… Your actions and your behavior are beyond the bounds of what this court thinks are entitled to a standard range sentence.”
Then she handed down his sentence, which she said was nine years above the high-end of his standard range.
This story was originally published by The News Tribune.
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