Claiming self-defense, Ferndale woman gets 3 months for stabbing rival girlfriend

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 9, 2013 

FERNDALE - A Ferndale woman's self-defense argument led prosecutors to back off first-degree assault charges for stabbing her boyfriend's new lover.

Carrie Marie Brooks, 43, entered an Alford Plea - denying guilt, but conceding a jury might convict her - for stabbing the woman in the chest, puncturing her right lung, at a home on Axton Road. The plea is considered a conviction.

Brooks agreed to serve three months in jail for second-degree assault Thursday morning, May 9.

A friend drove Brooks to her boyfriend's home in the late afternoon Dec. 17, 2012, to drop off his dog, according to charging documents filed in Whatcom County Superior Court.

He was working on a car outside. Brooks got into an argument with him as she walked to the house. The other woman was doing housework inside and had a bread knife in her hand when Brooks opened the door and saw her. They had recently been in a feud over their common lover.

Eyewitnesses gave conflicting accounts of the critical moments that followed. Prosecutors pieced together this narrative: Brooks approached the woman. The woman threw a soda in Brooks' face, then pushed her away, dropping the bread knife in the scuffle. Brooks stabbed her in the chest with a folding knife.

According to Shoshana Paige, Brooks' public defender, the stabbing victim later admitted to being high on methamphetamine. Drugs and guns were found in the home.

Deputy Prosecutor James Hulbert acknowledged if the case had gone to trial, witnesses would have been "poor historians due to lifestyle, or poor track records." In fact, several people in and around the home at the time had felony records. But not Brooks.

Paige pointed out Brooks had been a victim of a "vicious assault" as a teen, and that traumatic memory may have affected her perception of the threat. Brooks fled the scene in her friend's car, wiping down the blade on her sweater sleeve and throwing the knife out the window, according to the charges.

The stabbing victim survived. Brooks was arrested in late February in downtown Bellingham.

Her only prior serious run-in with the law ended with a conviction for use of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read his dispatcher blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher or follow him on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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