Halfmoon woman gets 16 years for stabbing husband
BALLSTON SPA A Halfmoon woman convicted of repeatedly stabbing her husband last year at their home was sentenced in Saratoga County Court Friday to 16 years in prison.
Lydia Ann Salce, 51, was convicted of attempted second-degree murder and two counts of first-degree assault after a two-week trial in July. She could have faced up to 25 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Salce stabbed Michael McKee more than a dozen times in their Route 9 home during a late-night argument on Aug. 11, 2011. McKee survived and testified against Salce during the trial; he gave a victim impact statement Friday.
“This has been hard mentally and emotionally,” McKee said. “I think about it every day. … I wake up in the morning, I still have those scars. I think about how close I was to death every day.”
McKee was wounded in the back, chest, head and arms and suffered two collapsed lungs. He spent seven days in Albany Medical Center.
The couple had known each other less than a year and been married for only a few months.
In a statement to the court, Assistant District Attorney Michelle Schettino said Salce has shown no remorse for the stabbing and has consistently tried to cast herself as the victim. She noted that Salce was arrested once before, for threatening a College of St. Rose employee in 1996 when the employee refused to change a grade.
“A person who resorts to violence when they don’t like what’s going on is an incredibly dangerous person,” Schettino told the court.
Salce’s trial defense was that she stabbed McKee, 42, in self-defense as he was beating her following a confrontation between the couple over his biker-gang activities. She called 911 herself, though prosecutors said she washed her hands of blood first.
“The verdict was an aberration, an anomaly, not supported by the evidence,” Assistant Public Defender Andrew Blumenberg said while arguing for a motion to set aside the verdict.
Blumenberg said McKee’s stab wounds, while inflicted with a 6-inch knife, were shallow and superficial, not consistent with the prosecution’s theory of a deliberate murder attempt. He asked the judge to impose a five-year sentence, the minimum for the violent felony charges.
But County Court Judge Jerry Scarano denied the defense motion to set aside the verdict, and he rejected the defense’s version of events before imposing the sentence.
“The evidence at trial clearly establishes a vicious and brutal knife attack on Mr. McKee, which seems to have been unprovoked,” Scarano said.
An appeal is expected. Salce declined to address the charges prior to sentencing, citing plans to appeal. She did, however, in a soft voice thank Scarano “and the people of Saratoga County for their time.”
In addition to the prison sentence, Salce will be on supervised release for another five years. Scarano also issued a permanent order of protection barring Salce from having contact with McKee.
Salce has been in custody since her arrest the night of the stabbing.
After the sentencing, District Attorney James A. Murphy III said it was not a traditional domestic violence case, in that there was a female defendant and a male victim.
“This could have very easily been a murder case, but fortunately, the victim was alive to tell the judge what happened,” Murphy said. “Imagine your spouse stabbing you to near-death and then having to face them in court. Rather than serving 16 years in prison for trying to kill her husband, I think divorce would have been a simpler option.”