An Oklahoma man maintained his innocence Wednesday before learning he would get 15 to 25 years in prison for hatching a plan to give his niece $200 and meth to cut off his wife's hair and scar her face.
The attack happened in Lincoln as Jacinda Stabler slept in a bedroom with her children on May 29, 2016.
Athea Stabler, her niece, later pleaded guilty to second-degree assault for carrying out the attack and faces up to 20 years when she's sentenced in April.
And last month at a jury trial, Eddy Stabler, 47, was found guilty of second-degree assault and use of a weapon.
In court Wednesday, the man from Lawton said it's hard to accept that he was going to prison "for something I had nothing to do with."
Still, he apologized to his wife, who had traveled from Oklahoma to be there.
"If I was home this probably never would have happened," he said.
Deputy Lancaster County Public Defender Shawn Elliott argued for probation, saying he knew it probably was a long shot given the nature of the allegations. But it was consistent with what the victim told the judge she wanted in a letter, he said.
Elliott argued that Athea Stabler, who faces up to 20 years, was far more culpable because she entered the home late at night and committed her crime even though children were in the room.
He said he didn't think Eddy Stabler should get more time on the allegation that he put her up to it and gave her the knife.
Deputy Lancaster County Attorney Chris Reid asked the judge to take into consideration the extremely violent nature of the offense and argued Eddy Stabler was more culpable because he hatched the plan a month earlier.
"He's the one that asked Ms. Athea Stabler to do this," Reid said.
He said Eddy Stabler's criminal history included domestic-related assaults and disturbances that showed a pattern of behavior that had escalated to what happened May 29, 2016.
Early that day, police were called to the 1500 block of B Street, where 32-year-old Jacinda Stabler was bleeding from stab wounds on her head, back and right hand, according to court records.
She had been sleeping with her three small children when she awoke just before 3 a.m. to find someone standing over her, stabbing her.
She kicked her attacker, who ran.
In an interview in 2016, Jacinda Stabler said she spent two nights in the hospital and needed 36 staples and stitches to repair her wounds.
She had told police she was in the process of divorcing Eddy Stabler but didn't think he was responsible.
Athea Stabler later admitted it was her. She told police her uncle was upset about the divorce and wanted "a mercenary" to cut off his wife's hair and scar her face so she wouldn't forget him, according to an arrest affidavit.
She said he gave her $200 and a quarter-ounce of methamphetamine after she did it.
In court Wednesday, Reid said he understood Jacinda Stabler's position that she didn't want her children to grow up without a father. But he also feared what more they would be exposed to if he were out of prison and part of their lives.
Lancaster County District Judge Andrew Jacobsen said "the fact of the matter is the jury did find Mr. Stabler guilty of these offenses after a trial."
Jacinda Stabler, he said, was left with wounds that were "fairly hideous to even look at." And the jury found that Eddy Stabler had put the plan into motion.
"That is something I cannot ignore despite Mr. Stabler's protestations," the judge said.
Eddy Stabler will have to serve about 6½ years more before he's eligible for parole.