A Saratoga Springs man was sentenced in Schenectady County Court Friday to 14 years in prison for attempting to murder his ex-girlfriend, following emotional pleas from the victim and her daughter.
Adam Lewis, 49, pleaded guilty June 23 before acting county Judge Richard Giardino to a 19-count indictment, which included attempted murder, assault, burglary, harassment and endangering the welfare of a child.
Lewis could have faced a minimum of 25 years in prison if convicted on the attempted murder count at trial.
Giardino could have sentenced Lewis on Friday to 15 years in prison, the maximum agreed to as part of Lewis’ guilty plea. Giardino based his decision in part on the gruesomeness of the crime, which almost resulted in the death of the victim, Christine Harrington.
“What bothers me is you are getting some benefit because she survived,” Giardino said.
Lewis stabbed Harrington twice, once in the abdomen and once in the back, when he tried to break into her home on Baker Avenue in Niskayuna on Aug. 26 through a window. He also had a can of gasoline and matches, which Assistant District Attorney Christina Tremante suggested he intended to use to burn the house down. Lewis said he planned to destroy a computer hard drive.
Harrington underwent two surgeries for her injuries, losing portions of her intestines. She also suffered a punctured lung and a broken hip.
On Friday, Harrington told the court in a victim impact statement that she still suffers panic attacks and has trouble sleeping because of the assault.
“Since he committed these senseless acts of violence, I cannot sleep and am constantly afraid someone will break into my house,” she said. “He broke in and destroyed our lives, and I am asking you to help me and protect us and make him accountable for his actions.”
Harrington’s daughter, who was not identified in court, also spoke. The girl said she blames herself for not being able to protect her mother from Lewis that night.
“Seeing her scars are a constant reminder of what she went through. It will finally be OK when Adam Lewis is sent to prison for a long time,” she said.
Addressing the court, Lewis apologized to Harrington and her children. He and the victim have one child together.
“I am very remorseful to the pain I caused, and there is no way to minimize what I caused,” Lewis said. “I hope they can begin the healing process knowing I will spend time away from them.”
Tremante argued for a 15-year sentence, saying that Lewis “must be told his behavior cannot be tolerated and that the community must be protected.”
Harrington said later that she hopes to further the cause of domestic violence prevention. She said she’s working with a downstate congressman on a proposal to use GPS units to monitor suspects with orders of protection issued against them.
In court Friday, she was supported not only by family and friends but by officers and dispatchers from the Niskayuna Police Department, who investigated and were the first to respond and help her.
Among them was dispatcher Eric Wagner, whom Harrington surprised in May with her personal thanks at a Niskayuna Police Department awards ceremony.
“I saw them all and asked them, ‘Are you here for me?’ and they said, ‘Yes,’ ” Harrington said. “It was an amazing feeling.”