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Published: Friday, 10/1/2010

Man given 13 years for stabbing death

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
William A. Defalco and his defense attorney, Jane Roman, face Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Stacy Cook during sentencing. Under a plea deal Sept. 16, Defalco was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault for the death of a boy, 16, and the stabbing of a woman who let minors drink at her South Avenue apartment. William A. Defalco and his defense attorney, Jane Roman, face Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Stacy Cook during sentencing. Under a plea deal Sept. 16, Defalco was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault for the death of a boy, 16, and the stabbing of a woman who let minors drink at her South Avenue apartment.
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Acknowledging the significant support he received from his family, a Lucas County Common Pleas judge pointed out that it was instead his longstanding “out of control” behavior that ultimately led William Defalco to be shackled before her.

“You certainly knew that what you were doing would cause a significant amount of harm,” Judge Stacy Cook said of the multiple stab wounds Defalco inflicted on Lamont Smith, 16. “Whatever snapped for you that night, that minute, made you willing to kill a friend.”

Defalco, 21, was sentenced Thursday to 13 years in prison for the stabbing death of the boy and the assault on Priscilla Hand, 27. He had pleaded no contest Sept. 16 to involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault.

Assistant County Prosecutor Michael Loisel said Defalco lunged at the Smith youth during an altercation in the early morning of Feb. 21. When the fracas ended, Ms. Hand had been cut in the arm and the teenager lay bleeding to death.

The group had been at Ms. Hand's South Avenue apartment at about 3:20 a.m. when the assault occurred, Mr. Loisel said during Defalco's plea hearing. Witnesses said an argument that began between the Smith youth and Ms. Hand resulted in her ordering the teenager to leave.

Defalco intervened and lunged at the teenager, who was a friend of Ms. Hand's family.

Defalco apologized to Smith's family, saying that he recognized that the teenager would never have a chance to “grow up and have kids.” He insisted that the behavior did not define who he was and said that he “wouldn't wish death on his worst enemy.”

“It makes me sick to my stomach to know that he lost his life at my hands,” he said. “If I could, I'd go back and change what happened that night.”

No one from the youth's family was present in court.

Mr. Loisel noted that Defalco has 19 offenses on his juvenile record and that his “assault history” began when he was 12. He added that the recent death was just a continuation of his dangerous behavior.

“He said he wouldn't wish death upon his worst enemy, but this young man was a friend of the family,” Mr. Loisel said, adding that the youth's sweatshirt would have shown that Defalco stabbed the teenager several times.

Prior to his sentence, Ms. Hand spoke to the judge as the victim of the felonious assault charge. She told Judge Cook that the night was chaotic and that Defalco was defending her and that she did not believe that he intended to hurt her.

Judge Cook said Ms. Hand too had responsibility for what happened that night when she provided a place where at least three underage people had been under the influence of alcohol.

“The ball started rolling that night with the circumstances that you started,” she told Ms. Hand. “Do you take any responsibility? Because you should.”

Originally charged with murder, Defalco entered a plea to involuntary manslaughter, which is causing the death of another in the commission of a felony. Judge Cook sentenced him to 10 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter consecutive to three years for the felonious assault.

Judge Cook ordered $4,500 in restitution for funeral expenses.

Contact Erica Blake at:eblake@theblade.comor 419-213-2134.



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