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Probation for Hanover woman who stabbed husband as he slept

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A Hanover woman who stabbed her then-husband in the chest with a paring knife as he slept in a chair has avoided prison.

Christina Leigh Sylvester, 37, pleaded no contest Wednesday in York County Court to misdemeanor simple assault, her defense attorney said.

In exchange, charges including aggravated assault and reckless endangerment were dismissed, court records state.

She was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to submit to mental-health treatment and comply with treatment recommendations, records state.

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Presiding Common Pleas Judge Amber A. Kraft ordered Sylvester to have no abusive contact with Ken Allebach, who survived his wound.

Public defender Connor Tarr said his client struggles with mental-health issues — something Allebach also recognizes.

"It was always his position that he wanted the charges to be withdrawn," Tarr said, and "wanted as little punishment for her as possible."

Sylvester remained free as her case made its way through court.

Probation involved: She was on supervised bail throughout that time, according to Tarr, who said the York County probation officer assigned to supervise Sylvester while the woman was on bail did everything possible to ensure Sylvester succeeded in staying engaged in treatment and complying with bail conditions.

"I was impressed by how much her supervised-bail (probation) officer was involved and willing to do in this instance," he said.

Christina Leigh Sylvester

The county probation department has created a probation plan for Sylvester for the future, now that her case has been resolved, according to Tarr.

"The mechanisms were in place at the time of the plea to make sure she has all the help she needs moving forward," he said. "No one was really looking to put her in jail due to her ongoing mental-health issues, including the judge."

Allebach was 55 years old at the time of the attack.

He told officers he was sleeping upright in a chair in the couple's home on Spring Avenue shortly after 1:30 a.m. March 15 when he awoke to Sylvester stabbing him in the upper left chest, court documents state.

Sylvester confessed to police that she grabbed a 3-inch paring knife from the kitchen and stabbed Allebach, documents state.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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