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Jury convicts woman for stabbing

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By LPR Staff

Editor/POST-REGISTER

A Caldwell County jury sentenced a woman to 20 years in the state correctional system last week.

Kristin Hannibal, 18, was convicted of aggravated robbery on Wednesday, Oct. 20. The next day, Hannibal made a tearful plea to the jury for lenience.

“I want to have the chance to finish my education,” she said. “Ma

ybe I can get a GED. When I get out, I want to start my life back up.”

Hannibal alleged during her testimony that the attack was not planned, and if she had known it was going to happen, she would have stopped it. Two juveniles were charged in connection with the assault, along with Hannibal. One plead true and was sentenced to a 15-year determinative sentence in the Texas Youth Commission. The other plead guilty to making a false report and is currently on juvenile probation.

Before Hannibal testified, the victim, Kristy Wheeler of Lockhart, asked the jury to think about the nature of the crime and to keep such a thing from happening again.

“It wasn”t an argument between two people,” Wheeler said. “I was attacked from behind. That”s something that an animal does.”

Last March, Wheeler was attacked at a Lockhart car wash while washing her car. She said either two or three people grabbed from behind, stabbing her once in the eye and twice in the upper body. The assailants then stole her purse and fled the car wash.

“They didn”t ask me for anything,” she said. “If they had asked me for my money or my purse, I would have given it to them.”

Hannibal and several juveniles were spotted speeding on Highway 183 shortly after the attack. Lockhart Police Officer Greg Slade gave chase, not knowing at the time that they were involved a robbery. After a car chase that reached speeds in excess of 110 miles per hour, Slade ran the assailants” rental car off the road. It was only then that he learned of the robbery and discovered that the suspects in his custody matched the descriptions of the suspects in the attack.

Hannibal, who has a criminal history including delivery of a controlled substance and multiple counts of forgery, was on juvenile probation in Travis County until late in 2002. Her former supervising officer, Danica Casteneda, offered testimony on behalf of the defense.

Casteneda explained that Hannibal, then 17, was released from juvenile probation by a Travis County District Judge after several violations of her probation conditions. According to Castaneda, the judge opted to “let the adult system handle her.”

Hannibal”s attorney, Tamara Needles, presented a case to the jury for lenience, based on a troubled childhood and overwhelming family responsibilities. In her defense, Hannibal explained to the jury that she was made responsible for caring for her younger siblings and cousins from the age of around 13. She said she worked two jobs to support her family when she was as young as 16.

The juveniles involved in the attack were said to be Hannibal”s cousins, who were under her care at the time of the crime.

Hannibal will not be eligible for parole until she has served at least half of her sentence.

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