CROWN POINT — Skip and Michelle Foster told a judge Friday they still have nightmares because of a brutal 2017 knife-attack by a man they thought was their friend.
Travis Dade, 27, stabbed them with a 9-inch blade in front of their then-7-year-old daughter in March 2017 at their Hammond home, which they shared at the time with Dade and Dade's wife.
Lake Criminal Court Judge Samuel Cappas sentenced Dade to 30 years, with 29 to be served in prison and one in a work release program.
While awaiting sentencing for the stabbing, Dade was charged in Dec. 28 with attempting to rape a fellow inmate in the Lake County Jail.
Cappas said the law did not bar him from considering the pending charges for sentencing purposes in the stabbing case.
"The defendant, while incarcerated, has generated 61 pages of disciplinary reports," Cappas said. "That's probably one of the largest reports on an inmate at the time of sentencing. That's obviously not a good thing."
The Fosters' daughter did not appear in court, but told the judge in a written statement she was separated from her parents for a month after the stabbing. They were being treated at a hospital during that time.
"All of our stuff was destroyed by Travis Dade, including my clothes and toys," she said. "When Travis was stabbing my mom, he said a lot of creepy things to me. I have nightmares about Travis getting out of jail and killing my whole family."
Dade pleaded guilty in September to two counts of level 3 felony aggravated battery in connection with the March 3, 2017, attack at the Fosters' home. The plea agreement imposed a 30-year sentence, but allowed the defense argue for alternative placement and probation.
Dade claimed Skip Foster provoked him by yelling threats, but Deputy Prosecutor Reginald Marcus said there was no evidence of that "because it never happened." Cappas disregarded the claim as a possible mitigating factor.
Deputy Prosecutor Natalie McCandies asked Cappas to sentence Dade to 30 years in prison.
"He is a violent predator," she said.
Defense attorney Mark Gruenhagen asked Cappas to sentence Dade to 12 to 14 years, with the remainder of the sentence to be served in a work release program or on probation.
"A 30-year sentence assumes he's the worst of the worst," Gruenhagen said. "He's not the worst of the worst."
Dade said he owed the Fosters an apology.
After the hearing, Michelle Foster rejected Dade's statement that he took a plea agreement to avoid forcing her daughter to testify at trial.
"That was disgusting," she said.
The couple said Dade's apology to them was "just for show."
"He didn't say I'm sorry for stabbing you," Skip Foster said. "He didn't put himself as the person who did it."
Skip Foster lost his spleen as a result of the attack, suffers from panic attacks and deals with "night terrors about what would have happened if just one thing changed."
"One of us would be dead, maybe even everyone in the house," he said.
Michelle Foster said Dade carved her to the bone, robbing her of the ability to enjoy running and causing her to lose her job at a chemist for nutritional testing.
"Every time I breathe, my ribs pull near where my chest tube used to sit in my side," said said. "A constant reminder of what happened that day."