37 years in jail for woman who stabbed fast-food worker
By Ruth Ann Krause Post-Tribune correspondent November 8, 2012 2:13PM
Updated: December 10, 2012 6:24AM
Lake Superior Court Judge Salvador Vasquez sentenced a Portage woman to 37 years in prison for an attempted robbery at a fast-food restaurant in which an employee was stabbed four times.
Jami Carinn Sipich, 33, who testified during her trial that she tried to rob the Wendy’s restaurant on Central Avenue in Lake Station on March 4, told the judge she was facing eviction, and was hungry and desperate when she committed the crime.
“I did not ever take into consideration the emotional trauma,” Sipich said, referring to the testimony of the employee who was injured. Sipich apologized to Alexis Rodriguez, who testified she has anxiety at work and is watchful when she’s in public if someone tries to walk up behind her.
Evidence presented at trial by deputy prosecutor Catherine Breitweiser-Hurst showed that Sipich walked behind Rodriguez with a knife and demanded money. When the manager told her there was no money, Sipich stabbed Rodriguez. During the trial, Sipich said the stabbing was accidental. Rodriguez was stabbed in the neck, cheek, arm and flank.
Defense attorney Angela Jones said her client wanted to take the case to trial. “She wanted the court to hear her side of the story,” Jones said.
Sipich was released from prison on Dec. 22 for an armed robbery conviction in Porter County, less than three months before she committed the Lake Station robbery.
Jones noted her client was molested at a young age and introduced to drugs by a family member. She has been diagnosed with a mental illness.
“She made a brash, abrupt decision she’ll pay for for the rest of her life,” Jones said.
Breitweiser-Hurst argued for a 40-year sentence, citing Sipich’s criminal history which dates back to when she was a juvenile for battery resulting in bodily injury.