STEPHENVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) – An Erath County jury took 20 minutes Wednesday to sentence Michael A. Howard, 43, to 20 years in prison for stabbing and paralyzing a Stephenville mother in a city park nearly seven months ago.
On March 14, Brandi Todd, 28, was watching her children play in Stephenville Park when Howard approached her and plunged a knife in her back. During the first day of the trial Tuesday, Todd looked her attacker in the eye, and retold her story. The attack left her paralyzed.
“I don’t think forever is too much,” Todd said. “I mean, why don’t we let him out when I can walk?”
Howard pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, which meant he didn’t understand right from wrong because of his mental illness. At the time of the attack, the defense told the jury that Howard was taking anti-psychotic, anti-depressants, and anti-anxiety medication.
“I know he has forgiveness from God if he asks for it,” said Denise DeForest, Todd’s mother. “But I want him to learn, when he does this, he hurts good people from society.”
Along with the maximum 20-year sentence, jurors imposed the maximum $10,000 fine without probation.