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Funkstown man sentenced to 35 years in stabbing

August 22, 2007|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN - A Funkstown man was sentenced Tuesday to 35 years in prison for stabbing his ex-girlfriend on the face and neck in December.

Mark Steven Sande, 43, formerly of 200 E. Chestnut St., faced a maximum sentence of life in prison after pleading guilty to attempted first-degree murder, a felony, in an April plea agreement.

Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long said he believed Sande would not pose a threat if he received treatment for depression and alcoholism. He said, however, that he was exceeding the 10 to 20 years recommended by sentencing guidelines because of the extreme nature of the injuries Sande inflicted.

Brenda Grove, who survived the attack, said in court Tuesday that she was still unable to blink or squint one of her eyes because of a cut nerve and that she has a scar across the left side of her face.

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"This was truly a heinous act, and it was premeditated," Assistant State's Attorney Viki Pauler said.

When Sande found Grove Dec. 4 in the apartment they shared, he told her she was "gonna meet God," Pauler said. He previously intended to attack Grove at her workplace, but there were too many people around, Pauler said.

The only thing that saved Grove's life was that Harry Cunningham, a friend of her family, arrived to check on her, Pauler said. Cunningham also was slashed in the face.

Grove, whose name at the time of the attack was Brenda Keller, has since married.

Michael L. Hendricks, a clinical and forensic psychologist, testified that Sande was dependent on alcohol, was severely depressed at the time and would present a low risk of violence if he received the proper treatment.

"It took an incredible amount of depression, and he had apparently been drinking quite a bit," Hendricks said. "That combination created the situation that happened last fall."

Sande apologized to Grove and her family, and accepted full responsibility for his actions.

"I want you to know and understand that this will never happen again," he said. "If I weren't drinking that day, I know that this wouldn't have happened. I feel less than a man."

Sande, who has spent eight months in jail, acknowledged that he can never drink again.

He was given a life sentence with all but 35 years suspended, and will face five years of supervised probation, during which time he cannot consume alcohol or drugs, must submit to testing, cannot have any contact with the victims and must take medicine for his depression. He must also pay restitution to cover Grove's medical costs.

Defense attorney Thomas A. Pavlinic said he plans to seek a reduced sentence.

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