FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- According to the State Journal, a Franklin County man has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for the near-fatal stabbing of a neighbor.
The newspaper says 24-year-old John Brandon Lamotte was convicted more than a month earlier of first-degree assault in the brutal March 2017 slashing and repeated stabbing of friend and next-door neighbor, 24-year-old Mary Sanders.
The jury recommended 11 years in prison, and Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd abided.
The decision prompted Lamotte’s mother, Sharon, to stand and demand to be heard by the court. She raised her voice in the court as she derided Shepherd for several minutes.
“This does not make sense,” Sharon Lamotte said. “This is not fair. The trial was not fair and this judgment is not fair. My child should not be going to jail. He did not do this.”
Shepherd allowed Lamotte’s mother to finish her comments before calling the court to recess.
As the bailiffs attempted to lead Lamotte from the courtroom, he stalled momentarily as his friends in the audience implored him to cooperate. He eventually stood and began walking with the bailiffs.
“I’ve done nothing wrong,” he told the supporters.
“We know, Brandon,” one responded. “Cooperate, so we can come see you.”
During the trial, jurors heard from Sanders about the morning of March 3, 2017, when she met Lamotte outside of her Reed Drive home to talk. She testified that after their discussion she went to hug Lamotte, and for an unknown reason he drew a knife, slit her throat, began stabbing her and punched her in the face.
Sanders’ mother emerged from a shower to find her daughter collapsed in a puddle of blood in her bedroom, bleeding profusely from the seven stab wounds and the laceration to her throat.
Brenda Patrick, Sanders’ mother, testified about the extensive trauma her daughter sustained that day. She told Shepherd that her daughter still has trouble speaking and eating. Sanders still suffers from trauma, Patrick said, and sometimes awakes in the middle of the night from dreams of again being stabbed by Lamotte.
“Once this kind of violence happens, it is hard to feel safe again,” Patrick said. “This loss of safety is permanent and can never be restored.”
However, Lamotte’s supporters argued that the extensive damage to Sanders was not the work of Lamotte.
Walter Morawa, a longtime friend, presented the judge with five points from the trial they believe support his innocence. Morawa mostly pointed to an ex-boyfriend of Sanders’ as having a motive to attack her, and he told Shepherd that a social media group calling for an investigation into Lamotte’s trial has received thousands of interactions.
“Brandon, we believe you, we support you, and we’re fighting for you,” Morawa added.
Shepherd responded that he was aware of the “many issues” pointed out, but he said it would be up to an appeals court to find fault with the jury’s decision.
“We had a trial,” Shepherd said. “And there may be other avenues to pursue, but they are outside of what we have before us here today.”