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Published: Friday, 9/22/2006

Man who severed wife's arm is jailed

MONROE - A Romulus, Mich., man who pleaded no contest to severing his wife's arm following an argument at a bar in July, was sentenced to prison yesterday in Monroe County Circuit Court.

Stephen Humphrey, 39, had pleaded no contest to driving with a suspended license while causing serious injury, and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Judge Michael LaBeau sentenced him to 40 to 60 months for each, which will run concurrently, according to Casie Creekmore, the courtroom clerk for Judge LaBeau. Humphrey will get credit for the 78 days already served.

Judge LaBeau also ordered Humphrey to attend substance abuse and impulse control counseling, and he ordered that his vehicle be immobilized for three years.

While both charges are felonies that are punishable by up to five years behind bars, Monroe County Prosecutor William Paul Nichols said that under Michigan's sentencing guidelines, judges can only give two-thirds of the maximum sentence.

"We charged him with the most serious charges that we could charge him with," said Mr. Nichols. "We asked the judge to exceed the sentencing guidelines on this case, due to the nature of the injury, his prior record, and his lack of acceptance of responsibility."

Humphrey had five prior drunken driving convictions on his record.

The incident occurred the night of July 1 after Humphrey and his wife, Brenda, 34, left a bar in Milan, Mich. Ms. Humphrey told deputies that she and her husband argued, and that he told her to get out of their pickup.

When she reached back in to get her cell phone, her husband accelerated, dragging her and then running her over. At that point, her arm was severed, deputies said.

Humphrey took his wife to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ypsilanti, Mich. The arm was never found.

Ms. Humphrey read a prepared letter at the trial yesterday describing what the loss of her arm meant to her.

She said she'll miss things like giving her two children a hug with two arms and walking in the park with her children holding her hands, Mr. Nichols said.

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