Man sentenced to six years in prison

By Joe Beck

FRONT ROYAL — Eric Lamont Garris stabbed his girlfriend several times in the early morning hours of Feb. 16, then drove her to Warren Memorial Hospital and waited for police to arrive and arrest him.

Garris, 29, was sentenced Tuesday in Warren County Circuit Court to six years in prison to be followed by five years supervised probation for what Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Madden described as a “heinous act by the defendant that needs to be punished accordingly.”

“This is a vicious attack based on jealousy in which the victim was stabbed repeatedly,” Madden told Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp. Madden said that Garris thought the victim, Cassandra Porter, 24, was cheating on him.

Porter, who was living with Garris at 450 Hill St. in Front Royal at the time of the attack, suffered a punctured lung among the eight to 11 stab wounds she received, according to court documents cited by Hupp.

Porter was pregnant at the time of the stabbing with a child fathered by Garris.

Defense attorney Eric Wiseley called the stabbing an “an isolated incident” for Garris, who had no prior convictions.

“Mr. Garris, up until that moment, had never done anything like this in his life,” Wiseley told Hupp.

Wiseley said Garris’s actions after the stabbing showed that the defendant deserved no more than a 2 1/2 year active prison sentence, plus a much longer suspended sentence and lengthy period of probation.

“He got her to the car, he bandaged her head, he took her to the hospital, he accepted responsibility for what he did,” Wiseley said of Garris.

Garris apologized to Porter, her family and his relatives who traveled from his native state of South Carolina to attend the sentencing.

Garris said he had “a little bit too much to drink” before the stabbing.

“I made a really bad mistake, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” Garris said.

Hupp said Garris held the knife in his hand and behind his leg before the attack, “a strong hint” that the stabbing was premeditated.

“Here we have what I call a brutal attack,” Hupp said before pronouncing sentence.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com