Man sentenced to seven years in stabbing

Maximino Miranda

FRONT ROYAL – A man who fled to Mexico after police sought him in a stabbing case was sentenced Tuesday in Warren County Circuit Court to seven years in prison.

Judge Ronald Napier imposed the sentence after the defendant, Maximino Mendoza Miranda, 24, pleaded guilty to malicious wounding and an Alford plea of guilty to armed burglary with the intention to commit murder, rape or other violent crime.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Madden described a bloody crime scene in a residence where Miranda stabbed the victim, Steven Williams, repeatedly before leaving through a back door. Miranda fled to Mexico and had remained missing since the night of the crime in early September 2010 until he turned himself to authorities in Texas several months ago.

In a statement outlining the evidence he would have presented had the case gone to trial, Madden said Miranda had been involved in an intermittent relationship with a woman to whom he sent a text message asking to see her at her home in the hours before the stabbing. The woman, Rebecca Militello, told Miranda not to come, but the defendant appeared at her residence on Lewis Street around 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. and entered through her bedroom window, Madden said.

Miranda, who was carrying a folding knife, found Williams lying in the bed and began stabbing him, Madden said.

“All three of these individuals knew each other,” Madden said of Miranda, Williams and Militello.

Militello, who had been out of the room, returned to see the unfolding violence.

“Mr. Williams fought back but he was stabbed repeatedly,” Madden said. “There was blood everywhere.”

Williams had to be rushed to Winchester Medical Center, Madden said.

“Mr. Williams was badly hurt,” Madden said. “He had stab wounds all over his body.”

Kerry Armentrout, Miranda’s attorney, said in an interview that his client entered an Alford plea to the armed burglary charge because the defendant was not intending to hurt anyone when he arrived at the residence.

Armentrout said Miranda normally carried a knife with him. He added that Miranda regularly entered the residence through the bedroom window when visiting Militello, who was living with her parents at the time.

“Our defense would have been he didn’t enter with an intent to hurt anyone,” Armentrout said of Miranda.

An Alford plea allows a defendant to insist he is innocent while admitting the prosecution has enough evidence to obtain a conviction.

Miranda’s sentence includes three years of supervised probation and a requirement that he pay $2,000 in restitution to Militello’s family for the cost of cleaning blood left on carpeting, bedding and three rooms.

Charges of attemtped second degree murder and a second count of malicious wounding were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

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