Stabbing victim's family calls for harsher charges - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Stabbing victim's family calls for harsher charges

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An man accused of stabbing another man in Waterloo has been charged with Willful Injury, and that brought back painful memories for Angela Beninga, whose daughter, Katelyn McDermott, was attacked last year.

"Before she could even respond or understand what was happening, he started to stab her and he stabbed her multiple times in the throat," Beninga said.

McDermott's ex-boyfriend, Jacob Helm, pleaded guilty to charges of willful injury, but Beninga said that those charges should have been attempted murder.

"I think that we say, as long as you don't have a gun, as long as you don't have a lot of drugs, as long as you just stab somebody, you'll only do a little bit of time," she said.

She believes lesser charges send the wrong message, but the prosecutor of the case, Asst. Black Hawk County Attorney Michelle Wagner says that's not the case.

"We have an obligation to charge what we think we can prove," she said. "And that is what we thought we could prove. I also felt we could prove the two additional charges."

Wager said they're bound by state law, and if they don't think they can prove that the accused meant to kill someone, they can't pursue the murder charge.

"Our main concern is we want justice for the victim," Wagner said. "We want justice for what happened, and we want the offender to be held accountable."

Beninga thinks Wagner did all she could, but she is still frustrated.

"When your child says to you that she's afraid, as a parent, you're going to do whatever you can. Talk to whoever you can and fight as hard as you can to rid her of what that fear is."

Wagner said Helm was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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