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Martinsburg man gets 12 to 80 years in stabbing

victim was stabbed 37 times

February 26, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Martinsburg man was sentenced Monday to 12 to 80 years in prison for his role in a Nov. 12, 2006, incident at Roberts Gardens apartments north of Martinsburg in which another man was stabbed 37 times.

Berkeley County Circuit Court Judge David Sanders described the case as "incredible" and "just so dark."

Jason Andrew Rea, 27, went into a "blind rage" after the girl he had been living with said she was going to leave him, said Rea's attorney, Tom Stanley.

Rea previously pleaded no contest to first-degree attempted murder and burglary, and pleaded guilty to two malicious assault charges and another charge of burglary and first-degree attempted murder.

The charges carry combined sentences of a minimum of 12 years and a maximum of 80 years in prison.

West Virginia State Police troopers responding to an apartment at the complex along U.S. 11 North found a man lying inside a doorway with stab wounds.

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The victim, Brian Stratton, was on the brink of death and doctors massaged his heart the night of the attack to revive him, Sanders said.

Stratton pulled up his shirt in court Monday to show Sanders the scars on his body, and he said he lost half of his lung, which causes him to lose his breath easily.

Stratton was stabbed with a knife, and was attacked again with another knife when the first one broke, Sanders said.

Stratton's grandmother also was stabbed, officials said.

Police said at the time that the fight was over a woman.

Stanley made a plea in court Monday that Rea be given an alternative sentencing so he could receive intensive psychological treatment.

Through testing conducted on Rea while he was at the Anthony Correctional Center in Neola, W.Va., it was determined that Rea can become insecure in personal relationships and has been clinically depressed, Stanley said.

The situation with his girlfriend made him feel "pushed to the edge," Stanley said.

Assistant Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Greg Jones said probation was not appropriate for an attack in which someone almost died.

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