PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) A Leola man was sentenced yesterday to spend five years in the state penitentiary for his guilty pleas to Attempted Aggravated Assault and DUI-1st. 22-year-old Eric Grabowska was indicted earlier this year on alternate counts of Aggravated Assault; along with Possession of Marijuana (Less Than Two Ounces), DUI-1st and Ingesting. He pleaded not guilty in February. Authorities were called to a northeast Pierre residence on January 5, where a Pierre man had been stabbed once in the torso. Authorities said the stabbing victim required emergency surgery for his wounds. Grabowska was arrested at a Pierre motel about thirty minutes later. Grabowska changed his plea this fall as part of an agreement with prosecutors and admitted his guilt to Attempted Aggravated Assault and DUI in October. The maximum sentence for Attempted Aggravated Assault is 7 ½ years and DUI-1st carries a penalty of up to a year in jail.
In court Wednesday, Grabowska’s attorney asked before his client’s sentence was pronounced that Grabowska be placed on supervised probation He also clarified a statement that Grabowska had made in a pre-sentence report and said it was not Grabowska’s intention to indicate in the report that he was acting in self-defense. He said Grabowska does not want to get out of a plea agreement that he entered into with prosecutors and that he readily admits his role in the stabbing.
Grabowska said the incident was no one else’s fault but his and that he is sorry it happened. Hughes County States Attorney Kelly Marnette requested that Grabowska pay for more than $6,000 in medical bills for the victim and that he be responsible for various other court costs.
Based on a pre-sentence report, Judge John Brown said it does appear that the stabbing was out of character for Grabowska-as far as violent offenses; but Brown said that Grabowska does have four active warrants, including one for a Grand Theft charge in southeast South Dakota. He said because of the nature of the Pierre offense, he would not grant a suspended imposition of sentence to Grabowska. He ordered that Grabowska spend five years in prison for the Attempted Aggravated Assault charge, with credit for 349 days he has already been held at the Hughes County Jail. None of the time was suspended. He must also pay just over $6,000 in medical costs incurred by the victim, $127.38 for costs paid to potential jurors who appeared for what was to be the trial for Grabowska. He reportedly chose to change his plea just before an October trial was to start. He was also given one year in jail for the DUI charge and that sentence will be served at the same time as his assault sentence. In addition, Grabowska was ordered to pay court costs, attorney fees and other fees and will have his driver’s license revoked for 30 days after he is released from custody.
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