Look of a ‘sociopath’

Wolfgang sentenced to max of at least 20 years for attempted murder

Times Observer file photo Keller Wolfgang (right)

“This is a monster who attacked her and tried to cut her head off.”

– Warren County District Attorney Rob Greene

“It can’t be because daddy didn’t care.”

That was part of the hammer that Judge Gregory Hammond dropped on Keller Wolfgang on Friday.

Wolfgang, 34, was sentenced by Hammond on a count of criminal attempt (murder) stemming from a 2016 assault where he stabbed a woman who he had just met the day before “more than one time in the neck and back area,” according to the affidavit of probable cause, at an Eddy Street apartment before fleeing the area and heading to Erie where he was ultimately apprehended.

As a result, he will spend at least the next 20 years in state prison, Hammond ruled.

Wolfgang’s attorney – Bernard T. Hessley – called the situation a “tragic circumstance” and said that he knows Wolfgang is “happy” that the victim survived.

He then recounted aspects of Wolfgang’s childhood – that his biological father was imprisoned for a violent crime, that he had a “rough childhood” and that he was never the same after being assaulted with a baseball bat at age 19.

Hessley noted that Wolfgang has struggled with drug and alcohol as an adult, using substances to self-medicate and said that it is Wolfgang’s belief that if he had proper mental health treatment that he “wouldn’t be in this situation.”

“Punishment is in order,” he added. “He can be rehabilitated.”

District Attorney Rob Greene called Hessley’s comments a “‘poor me’ colloquy,” and said that the idea that the victim is recovered is a “slap in the face to her. She is anything but fully-recovered.

“This is a monster who attacked her and tried to cut her head off.”

Greene said that the maximum sentence Hammond could levy was 20 years and said that he was “imploring the court” to do just that.

On the night of the offense, Greene said that Wolfgang was posting to Facebook that he would receive 25 years to life.

“I wish,” Greene said.

Greene then read an impact statement from the victim, who described for the court how she felt like Wolfgang was interviewing her “like he was searching for someone to kill.”

When she was able to run away, the victim told the court that she prayed he wasn’t going to follow her.

As a result of the attack, she wrote, she had to leave her house making her essentially homeless. She wrote of scars and bald patches on her head as well as no strength in her hand as well as chipped teeth, injuries she expects to be life-long.

The attack “absolutely turned my world upside down,” she wrote.

Greene again asked for the maximum sentence allowed by law and thanked city police “for their excellence” and the EMTs who responded for saving her life.

Wolfgang then read a prepared statement claiming that his case has been sensationalized.

“I’m not a monster,” he said, arguing he was also not a killer. “I’m glad I finally get a chance to defend myself.”

He said that if he could take the night back for the victim he would and argued that the incident “would never have transpired” if he had received appropriate mental health treatment.

Hammond said that Wolfgang only attended roughly half of the self-help meetings open to him and committed a total of nine misconducts which is a record “not completely supportive of what you just told me.”

Warren County Jail staff said they were unable to provide specific information on the nature of the misconducts.

Hammond said that the victim’s statement is “heartbreaking” for her but disturbing regarding his actions.

“It can’t be because daddy didn’t care,” he said. “This wasn’t about revenge, drugs….”

He specifically noted Wolfgang looking at her as the life was dripping from her. He suggested that might be the look of a “sociopath.”

“You’ve changed the course of her life,” Hammond said. Frankly, I thought about this sentence for hours (and the) best rehabilitation program for you. I’m not sure if there is an appropriate program for someone who doesn’t care if someone lives or dies.” He mentioned Wolfgang’s social media posts and text messages in the immediate wake of the assault, in which Wolfgang said that he had ruined his life and was “covered in blood.”

Hammond added that Wolfgang’s conduct in jail shows that “no lightbulb has gone on for you,” and argued that Wolfgang shows no capacity for empathy in prior court appearance.

He then announced the sentence – 20 to 40 years in state prison, $5,625 in fines and fees, $1,367.89 in restitution to the victim and $990.40 in restitution to the Victim Compensation Assistance Fund, to have no contact with the victim or the victim’s family, submission of a DNA sample and a mental health evaluation and compliance with any subsequent recommendations.

He is not boot camp or recidivism risk reduction incentive eligible.

“Your sentence commences this day,” Hammond concluded, noting that this is the maximum sentence allowed.