Sheila Kowal, 35, was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison for breaking into a Lackawanna apartment and repeatedly stabbing a man.
A jury in November convicted her of attempted murder, assault and burglary charges after a one-week trial in Erie County Court.
“Quite frankly, it was chilling to listen to,” Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio said of the testimony during the trial.
The victim was stabbed in the back, leg and chest.
“You violently and relentlessly stabbed the victim eight or nine times,” DiTullio said during the hearing. “You nearly killed him.”
At her trial, Kowal testified that she stabbed the man in self-defense.
Kowal illegally entered the apartment through a window at about 1:30 a.m. Nov. 6, 2011, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.
Jeremy Maier, who broke into the apartment with Kowal, also stood trial and was convicted of burglary, assault and trespassing charges. He has yet to be sentenced.
Kowal had faced a maximum term of 25 years in prison.
She did not say much at her hearing, on the advice of her lawyer.
She noted she has been in custody for 11 months.
“I’m really sorry for my family suffering,” she said, mentioning her children.
“We respectfully disagree with the findings of the jury,” defense lawyer Jeremy D. Schwartz said,
The conviction will be appealed, he said.
Schwartz asked the judge to consider Kowal’s “difficult upbringing and abusive relationships” as she decided the sentence.
“I acknowledge your tough childhood,” the judge said.
Kowal, who has lived in various communities in Erie and Niagara counties, has a dozen prior misdemeanor convictions.
DiTullio noted Kowal’s dislike for the victim because of the way Kowal believed he was treating her friend.
“You had plenty of time to call the police,” DiTullio said. “The answer is not to break into his apartment and basically slaughter him.”