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Man Who Stabbed Girlfriend Sentenced to 8.5 to 17 Years in Prison

June 20, 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Monica Furber, 215.348.6297, mwfurber@buckscounty.org

A man who stabbed and critically injured his girlfriend inside a house in Bristol was sentenced this morning to serve eight and one-half to 17 years in state prison. 

“You may not be an evil person, but you do have some evil within you,” Bucks County President Judge Jeffrey L. Finley told the defendant, James Anton, before imposing the sentence.

Anton, 36, had pleaded guilty April 4 to aggravated assault, simple assault and possession of a weapon in the Sept. 8 stabbing of Stephanie Brehmer in the 200 block of New Brook Street.

Brehmer, 43, suffered multiple, life-threatening wounds to her chest and throat area. The attack occurred in the home of a friend who was housing Anton temporarily after Anton was forced to leave his former residence, a sober house across the street.

Authorities believe the fight began after Anton and Brehmer argued about ending their relationship.

“We were drinking all day,” Anton said. “We were talking about getting our own place.”

When the conversation soured, an argument ensued that turned physical, Anton said. “I fell to the floor and I saw the knife on the floor and I reacted.”

Anton stabbed Brehmer multiple times with a folding pocket knife that he said he used for cutting boxes in his job as a mover. He fled the house after the assault.

Brehmer, bleeding heavily, ran several blocks to a bar, where she collapsed. She was rushed to Aria Health’s Torresdale campus, where doctors performed emergency surgery to save her life.

At the time of the assault, Anton was on probation from a previous conviction in which he had stalked an ex-girlfriend and threatened to cut her throat. He also had prior convictions for burglary and simple assault.

In court, Anton said that he had spent much of his probation working for a moving company and managing a drug rehab house in the Bristol area. He said that he had begun drinking again shortly before the attack on Brehmer, and blamed alcohol for his violence.

Finley noted that Anton, since his arrest, has shown “exemplary” behavior in prison, assisting other prisoners with personal needs and representing his cell block in meetings with prison officials. But the judge expressed outrage that Anton had failed to complete domestic violence and mental health programs that had been ordered as part of his probation.

“You can’t control the rage, the jealousy, inside of you,” Finley told Anton. “You stabbed a woman you claim to love five or six times in such a way that she is lucky to be alive.”

Anton said that he is “truly, deeply sorry” for his crimes. To the victim, he said, “It would take me too long to apologize” for all of his wrongdoing.

Finley sentenced Anton to serve six to 12 years in state prison for aggravated assault, and a consecutive two and one-half to five years for possession of a weapon, for a total of eight and one-half to 17 years.

Brehmer, who attended the sentencing, had asked that she be allowed to speak to Anton before he was taken away, and that she be allowed to exchange letters with him while he is in prison. Finley refused the first request, and said that state prison officials would decide whether she and Anton could communicate with each other.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Monica Furber and investigated by Bristol Borough police.

Approved for release by Daniel B. Sweeney, Deputy District Attorney.

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