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Court officials at loss how best to sentence mentally ill man in choking, stabbing case

Court officials at loss how best to sentence mentally ill man in choking, stabbing case

Stephen Rainey

Stephen Rainey

VALPARAISO — Defense attorney Clay Patton offered Monday afternoon to reach into his own pocket to pay the bus fare home to Pennsylvania as the best option for one of his clients, who is caught in a sort of limbo after pleading guilty but mentally ill to choking a woman unconscious and stabbing her at least 12 times.

Patton, a prosecutor and Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford were uncertain how best to sentence 23-year-old Stephen Rainey, fearing he will not get the mental health care he needs in prison and yet knowing he will likely fail probation if let out on his own.

Saying he needs time to seek out the "least harmful" approach, Bradford took the sentencing under advisement until Sept. 28.

Rainey, who offered an apology during a rambling statement during Monday's sentencing hearing, pleaded guilty in July to a felony count of battery causing serious bodily injury in return for prosecutors dropping the remaining counts of felony strangulation and misdemeanor battery by bodily waste and invasion of privacy.

The incident occurred Sept. 15, 2019, at a Porter apartment, where police found Rainey holding a pocket knife, crying and saying he stabbed someone, according to police.

Police said Rainey spit in the face of another man as he was being led out of the apartment, resulting in the misdemeanor battery charge.

Porter County Deputy Prosecutor David Urbanski asked Monday for a three-year prison term, voicing doubt that Rainey would succeed on probation.

While he doubted Rainey would receive the mental health treatment he needs in prison, Urbanski said he hoped something would be better than nothing.

Patton said the system had failed Rainey as a foster child and is failing him again as an adult with no prior criminal history. He called for releasing Rainey immediately and offered to pay his way to return to Pennsylvania where he would at least have the support of a couple family members.

Gallery: Recent arrests booked into Porter County Jail


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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.

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