A Chicago man found guilty in June of severely beating and stabbing the mother of his two young children was sentenced Wednesday to 22 years in prison.
Demetrice Tompkins, 49, faced 30 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of attempted murder, aggravated domestic violence and armed violence in the December 2011 attack on Crystal Ward, 43, of Lombard.
During Tompkins' trial, Ward testified an argument about her drinking habits sparked a larger argument about her attending Tompkins' approaching court date regarding an earlier domestic violence case.
After first being beaten by Tompkins, Ward said she sat against the bathroom door to prevent him from coming back at her. But after a struggle, he forced his way back in.
"He looked at me and pulled a knife with his right hand. I asked him what he was going to do with that and he said, 'I'm going to jail for murder today.' Then he slit my left wrist and stabbed my torso," Ward testified during the trial. "I said, 'Are you really going to do this? What about our kids?' and he said, 'You don't care about them anyway' and he stabbed me again. I started praying."
Ward was stabbed several times and suffered severe injuries to her face from the beating.
Assistant State's Attorney Anne Celine O'Hallaren sought a 28-year sentence for the "violent, brutal and demonic acts" Tompkins committed.
"Crystal Ward is lucky to be alive," O'Hallaren said. "And the defendant has no one to blame but himself."
Judge Daniel Guerin, in handing down the sentence, agreed Ward is lucky to be alive and said it's likely her mention of the children she had with Tompkins may have saved her life.
"If not for a few profound words from the victim, I don't know that the defendant would have stopped," Guerin said. "Fortunately for her, she came up with just the right words."
Crying, Tompkins pleaded with Guerin for a lesser sentence.
"I love Crystal dearly. I'm sorry," he said. "Something happened to me that day. My mind collapsed. I'm not a violent man."
"On Dec. 12, 2011, Tompkins viciously attacked his former girlfriend in an effort to kill her," DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said. "Today's sentencing sends a message that domestic violence will not be tolerated in DuPage County and will be met with the full force of the law."
Tompkins must serve just less than 19 years, or 85 percent of the sentence. He will receive credit for 969 days already served in the DuPage County jail.