POCATELLO — A Pocatello man who pleaded guilty to aggravated battery for stabbing another man “several times” in the chest has been sent to prison.
During a sentencing hearing Monday, Robert Warren States, 48, apologized for his actions which left another man severely injured. States referred to the April 2022 incident as a mistake — the product of heavy alcohol consumption and the mental strain brought on by the death of his son.
District Judge Javier Gabiola, after listening to statements from States and the defense and prosecuting attorneys, said he did not consider the attack to be a mistake.
“You made the choice to stab somebody — you made the choice to do that after you got severely inebriated,” Gabiola said before stating his sentence decision.
Defense attorney Scott Pearson spoke on States’ behalf, saying his client was not the “monster” described in police reports. Deputy Bannock County Prosecuting Attorney Alan Boehme agreed that, based on everything he knows about States, had alcohol not been involved, the incident would not have occurred.
But, he added, alcohol is a large part of States’ life and the stabbing did occur. Boehme went on to say that everyone involved — especially the victim — was lucky this case only involved an aggravated battery charge.
“We’re lucky, at this point in time, that we are not dealing with a homicide case,” Boehme said, asking for a mandatory minimum sentence of three years.
Gabiola agreed with the prosecutor, and sentenced States to prison for between three and 15 years.
States was arrested on April 29, 2022, after Pocatello police responded to report of a physical altercation at a motel on South 5th Avenue. While en route, officers received information one of the two men involved in the altercation has been “seriously injured.”
Upon arrival, officers found the victim suffering from stab wounds to the chest, abdomen and face area. He was taken by ambulance to Portneuf Medical Center, where he underwent emergency life-saving surgeries.
States eventually reached a plea deal with the Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office. As part of the agreement, States pleaded guilty to aggravated battery. In exchange, charges for attempted murder, aggravated assault and a deadly weapon enhancement were all dismissed.
The victim did not appear in court Monday, but did submit a written victim’s impact statement to Gabiola. The judge references the statement, saying the victim has obviously been significantly impacted by the incident, according to the statement.
Asked to provide a statement on his own behalf, States fought back tears several times, saying that he has also been impacted by the incident.
States told the court that he had taken steps to combat his alcohol issues while in jail — attending alcohol treatment classes. He also intends to do so while in prison.
States said during his time in jail, he has devoted himself to religion and hopes to become a minister. He referenced his wife, saying that he has been wholly committed to her since he married her.
“Whatever I set my mind to do, my soul follows,” States said. “I want to give my family back what I promised them years ago.”
Pearson said in the past 14 months, he has gotten to know States well, and under other circumstances would consider his client a friend. Pearson asked Gabiola to sentence States to a rider, where he would be able to focus on continuing his sobriety for a year.
Pearson said that he understood the request to be a “big ask,” but said that having a sober and reformed States would be the best thing for the Pocatello community.
Gabiola said while a judge must consider punishment and deterrence of future crimes, safety of society had to be the most important thing when determining a sentence.
“You stated a moment ago, Mr. States, that you made a mistake. I don’t buy that,” Gabiola said. “I realize that you had severe issues going on your life, but other people have that and they don’t do what you did.”
In addition to the prison sentence, States was ordered to pay $1,345.50 in fees and fines — including $100 for DNA and fingerprint collections.
As part of the plea deal, States agreed to pay $383.14 in restitution to cover the victim’s medical bills. However, during sentencing, States told Gabiola that he was willing to pay more, should it be requested — “I should be responsible for all hospital bills,” he said.
Gabiola gave the prosecution 30 days to file for additional restitution.