LISBON - A St. Clair Township man received a lengthy prison sentence for repeatedly stabbing his ex-girlfriend's boyfriend with a screwdriver, even though he claimed to be acting in self-defense.
Chad A. Smith, 39, of Sprucevale Road, East Liverpool, was sentenced Monday to four years in prison by Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike after previously pleading guilty as charged to felonious assault.
Assistant County Prosecutor Ryan Weikart recommended the four-year sentence as part of the plea deal. "We're lucky we're here on felonious assault and not something more serious," he said, referring to the injuries inflicted on Bradley J. Gibson II of Hookstown, Pa.
According to Weikart, the 39-year-old Gibson suffered stab wounds to the chest, back and legs, leaving him with nerve damage in his legs. "The seriousness of this offense warrants a four-year incarceration period," he said.
The attack occurred before 4 a.m. Sept. 8, 2012, at the St. Clair Township home of Cena M. Harris, who was once involved with Smith but dating Gibson at the time. Weikart said Smith texted Harris 20 times and called another nine times leading up to the confrontation with Gibson. The retrieved text messages were threatening in nature ("Let's see if he protects you like I have," read one) and included insults and obscenities.
When it came his time to speak, Smith told Pike that he went to the residence after Harris informed him he could retrieve his belongings, and Weikart said she had texted him back four times that night. Smith said while he was speaking with Harris in the driveway, Gibson jumped him from behind and put him in a choke hold. Still holding the screwdriver, which Smith said he used as the ignition key for his pickup truck, he began stabbing Gibson.
Pike found it hard to believe that Smith would go anywhere in the middle of the night to retrieve his belongings, noting there were inconsistencies in what he was saying now and his original statements to investigators.
"Your version seems to change everytime you tell your story," he said.
"You know you had a right to a trial in this matter?" Pike reminded him.
Smith, who was represented by the public defender's office, said he pleaded guilty "because I don't feel I should walk on this," although he kept insisting he acted in self-defense.
Smith said he was just wanted to put the entire matter behind him, adding, "I just need to get it over with."