Harris Sentenced in Stabbing
Vicki Lynn Harris appeared with her lawyer, Mayo Ashley, in Judge Reynolds’ District Court on August 20. Accompanying her was her husband (and victim) in the case. They held hands throughout the entire proceedings, as they awaited their turn on the docket.
When Harris’ case came up, they sat in the defendant’s spot together, still holding hands in support. Ashley said in opening, “Your honor, Ms. Harris has complied with all conditions; she and her husband are working through their problems in marriage counseling.” He continued, “This was not a crime, it was a tragedy. They are active in the Three Forks community, together.” He then asked the judge to exonerate the bond and order removal of her SCRAM alcohol-monitoring bracelet. He also requested a three-year deferred sentence.
County attorney, Cory Swanson stated that the Harris’ seem to have “moved beyond this” event of Vicki causing “extreme bodily injury” to her husband. He reminded the court that just millimeters difference, and this would have been a homicide and, in that case, they wouldn’t have a future together. His recommendation was a 10-year suspended sentence, with a $10,000 fine. Swanson declared, “Less than this is not a carriage of justice.” He also mentioned that Ms. Harris has her own assets aside from her husband’s, and any fine ought to come from her, not the victim.
February 23, 2016, The Harris’ had a drunken argument, progressing until the victim handed Harris a kitchen knife, telling her, “go ahead; stab me in the heart.” She did, and he was airlifted to Butte for surgery. She was arrested, but made bond later and was released. Since her release, they were granted contact; supervised at first, but through counseling and the court’s okay, they are now living together in Three Forks.
Ashley, then, argues for a deferred sentence, so that in the future, her record would be expunged; and Swanson again said that the crime was “so close to a homicide.”
After hearing what the attorneys said, Judge Reynolds asked Mr. Harris if he had anything to add. Mr. Harris replied, “Your Honor, I just want to say, I love my wife. I am a disabled vet, and need her at home to help me.” Mr. Harris attended each of her court hearings from the beginning and accompanied her to court after that contact was approved.
After consideration, the Judge handed down this Sentence: Six years, deferred, with no early release (usually, deferred sentences include ability at half-way, to come back to court, having the rest of the sentence commuted); She is to enroll in the 24/7 program (or if that isn’t available where they live, SoberLink) for alcohol monitoring; $5,000 fine to come out of her assets; and to adhere to all previously imposed conditions.