Union County DA defends plea deal that has domestic violence st - | WBTV Charlotte

Union County DA defends plea deal that has domestic violence stabbing victim upset


Union County's District Attorney is defending a plea deal that sent a husband away for 15-to-19 years for brutally stabbing his wife, but the victim is still not happy.

"We feel strongly it's a good resolution to the case" said D-A Trey Robison. "I understand she's upset but this was a good resolution on a complex case."

Wednesday afternoon, Thomas Neeley pleaded guilty to attempted first degree murder - in exchange the Judge took prosecutors advice and sentenced Neeley to 15-to-19 years in prison.

After his court appearance, his victim - Elizabeth Allen - told WBTV "I felt let down and disappointed. I felt like I didn't get justice in there."

Around 11 o'clock on the night of September 30th, 2013 Thomas Neeley grabbed a knife from the kitchen in his family's Monroe home and began stabbing his wife.

For the next 7 hours, Neeley watched as his wife's blood ebbed out of her body. He refused to call 911.

There's no way Allen will ever forget those hours.

"Cause I got punctured in my liver, my diaphragm was cut, my colon came outside my body. It was I think a bruise on my heart."

Allen, who no longer wants to use her husband's last name and is in the waiting period to file for divorce, said "I was balled up with blood coming out everywhere."

She said Neeley, whom she met five years prior at a Church and had been married to for less than a year, even threatened to kill her three daughters if she made any noises during the stabbing.

Allen said when Neeley left to go out, she called 911.

Neeley was arrested in York County shortly after the attack, and was charged with attempted first degree murder, kidnapping, felony assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to cause injury, and interfering with emergency operations.

Allen said she thought Neeley would be put away for dozens of years.

But prosecutors and Neeley's defense attorney negotiated a plea deal.

Neeley agreed to plead guilty to the most serious charge of attempted first degree murder. Normally, that charge carries a sentence of 40 years. But prosecutors agreed to recommend a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 19 years.

Allen said she doesn't understand why, and she doesn't like the deal.

"They said that when they go to court, the defense would try to make me mad on the stand, or make it out that's it's not attempted murder."

Allen said she was prepared to testify.

"I lived. You have me to tell the story. You have all the evidence in the world. What more would you need to win a case?"

D-A Robison told WBTV "the vast majority of cases we handle we seek some sort of compromised resolution if one can be reached because we simply don't have the court resources to try every case."

Robison said prosecutors were worried about how the trial would affect Allen because the case against Neeley wasn't going to be easy to prove.

"We had to prove he had the specific intent to kill" Robison said. 

Even though Neeley inflicted multiple stab wounds, prosecutors would have had to prove he intended to kill his wife.

"There have been questions about his mental state both during the event and his mental state - his ability to.. his competence to stand trial. In fact, he has been evaluated - not once but twice - regarding his mental state."

Allen said she's not upset that Neeley reached a plea deal, it's that he's not getting a long enough sentence.

"I'm for life for this. I get life and he gets 15 years. I have all these problems - my stomach is so messed up, they don't know what's wrong" Allen said. "How is fair for me to look down and see that and he gets 15 years. I get forever."

Allen, who has moved away from the area, said she's worried Neeley will one day get out, and come after her.

"He's still writing letters to people telling them how much he still loves me and I'm his soul mate" she said. "So any time he gets out, I'm not going to feel safe."

Neeley's father was in court Wednesday afternoon as his son entered the guilty plea.

"I think it was a fair 15-to-19 years cause nobody really knows what happened" Ronald Neeley said, adding it's not that he thinks his daughter-in-law isn't telling the truth, "it's just that there's more things that go on behind closed doors people don't know."

The elder Neeley said "I think it was terrible what he did." He said he likes Allen, and understand why she is afraid of his son.

"Oh yes I do. But I think 15 years -you wouldn't be thinking about it no more."

But Allen reiterated that she doesn't find any solace in Neeley being locked up for a minimum of 15 years.

"Not really. It's not fair" she said.

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