By her own admission, Cierra Whitley is broken.
The 26-year-old woman stabbed her mother’s boyfriend Lamont Moran with two knives, then hit him in the head with a hammer.
She told her 6-year-old son to tell police Moran solicited him for sex, later admitting it was a lie.
On Wednesday, St. Clair County Chief Judge John Baricevic sentenced Whitley to four years in prison.
“I want to apologize to the victim and the court. I want to accept responsibility for my actions,” Whitley told the judge before she was sentenced. “I do believe that I can be fixed.”
Patrick Sullivan, Whitley’s lawyer, told Baricevic of Whitley’s history of childhood sexual, emotional and physical abuse followed by drug and alcohol abuse. Whitley dropped out of sixth grade, gave birth to two children and has never had a job.
“She’s as broken as anybody who has come into this courtroom in handcuffs, but I have to believe that she can be fixed,” Sullivan said.
Whitley was charged with attempted murder for the attack on Moran that occurred in Alorton on May 30, 2013. The reason for the attack? Moran said something to her 6-year-old son that made him cry, said Assistant State’s Attorney Deb Phillips, who prosecuted the case. The attack occurred with the child as a witness, Phillips said.
“Her actions that day were diabolical,” Phillips said.
In addition to suffering physical injuries, Phillips said Moran lived with the “specter” of being a sexual predator until police learned Whitley told the boy to lie about the sexual proposition.
In exchange for her guilty plea, Phillips dismissed the attempted murder charge and proceeded on the lesser offense of aggravated battery with a weapon. Phillips argued for the maximum — five years in prison. Sullivan asked the judge for the minimum of two years. The judge settled on four.
“If we don’t know what caused (the attack), how do we know that it won’t happen again?” Baricevic asked.
Whitley has previous convictions for assault and battery for damaging ambulance equipment and spitting on a paramedic and threatening to do him harm because she said she would “stab him,” according to the charges that were filed on Sept. 23, 2012. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 days in county jail.
A year earlier, Whitley was charged with resisting a Washington Park police officer by attempting to bite her and resisting being placed in handcuffs. Whitley was convicted and sentenced to 10 days in the county jail.
“Our hearts go out to Mr. Moran as we continue to hope for his steady recovery,” Sullivan said. “Ms. Whitley acknowledges the seriousness of her behavior, takes full responsibility for her actions and intends to take a proactive approach to her rehabilitation and restoration to useful citizenship."