Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Salt Lake City mom sentenced to jail for bashing estranged husband with hammer

A Salt Lake City, UT mother who admitted "surprising" her husband with a hammer attack after leading him down to her parents' basement was sentenced to 30 days in jail, three years of probation, a $250 fine and 200 hours of community service Monday, April 19. Amy Teresa Ricks, 37, was given the light sentence mainly because her victim, her estranged husband Joel Ricks told the judge he still loved his wife and that prison would be hard on their daughters.

Ricks was initially charged with attempted murder, a first-degree felony, for the May 4, 2007, attack that took place in her parents' Holladay condominium. The couple had gone out for dinner and returned to the condo where they started kissing.

Joel Ricks told police his wife then told him, "I've got a surprise for you." Amy Ricks blindfolded her husband, led him downstairs, spun him around in circles and told him to count to 100. After Joel Ricks was hit with the hammer, prosecutors said, he pulled off the blindfold, spotted sleeping bags, a knife and plastic bags nearby, and ran off to get help.

The perpetrator's attorney Susanne Gustin said her client is "a kind person, a smart person, a wonderful mother," Gustin said. "She's working full time and is the sole support of this family. She's not a danger to the community or anybody else. This happened because of mental pressure. She was a battered spouse."

Amy Ricks herself said I don't want to be separated from my children for any time, I am with them all the time," she said. "The last two years have been a nightmare for everyone. I'm sorry for it and I just want it to be over."

Prosecutor Tupakk Renteria disputed Amy's claim of abuse and said that even if it was the case, that doesn't excusing luring a victim down to a basement under false pretenses.
3rd District Judge William Barrett said that while the punishment for the attack needed to be severe enough to act as a deterrent, "Sometimes I hate this job.This was a tragic case and is a tragic case." Amy must report to jail on April 27. Her husband still has a no-contact order issued against her.

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