A Brooklyn Park man was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for trying to kill his estranged wife in an bloody attack that took place a month after she left him in the wake of what prosecutors said was an earlier assault.
"The difference between this case and a murder case is only the grace of God," Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Paul A. Hackner told William C. Ward III, 44. The judge also cut off contact between Ward, a construction worker, and the couple's three sons — one of whom saved his mother's life — telling Ward that the only way for Rachel Ward and the children to move along in life "is for you not be a part of it" unless a family law judge says otherwise.
The remarks came after Rachel Ward, a medical transcriptionist struggling due to her injuries, asked Hackner to offer her and her children some security by giving Ward a long sentence, and after Ward pleaded with Hackner not to take his children from him.
Hackner said the sentence, more than twice the four to nine years called for under state guidelines, reflected the severity of the crime. After release, Ward will be on probation for five years.
Prosecutors said that when his wife of 22 years came to retrieve the children Jan. 8, Ward asked her to step into their former bedroom, locked the door, pulled out a 6-inch knife and told Rachel Ward she wouldn't leave alive. He slashed her, cutting off her thumb and gashing her torso. Their oldest son heard his mother's screams and knocked down the door, only to see his father slit his own throat.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun