Man Sentenced for Stabbing Ex-Wife, Cutting Son

A Boardman man will spend the next 16 years behind bars, after being convicted of stabbing his ex-wife and cutting his 2-year-old son with a knife last summer.

John Sylvester Jr., 37, was sentenced Wednesday afternoon in the courtroom of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge R. Scott Krichbaum.

Sylvester pleaded guilty in December to attempted murder, first-degree felony kidnapping, two counts of second-degree felonious assault and misdemeanor endangering children.

Prosecutors recommended Sylvester serve the 16 years in prison as part of the plea agreement.

Sylvester cut Kelli M. Sylvester, 30, of Howland, in the neck, shoulder and on both hands and cut his 2-year-old son’s foot during an altercation on June 3. After the incident, John Sylvester fled to the Market Street Bridge in Youngstown where a Mahoning County Sheriff’s deputy talked him down from jumping off the ledge. Police said he was attempting to commit suicide and that he didn’t remember what happened earlier in the day.

“Words cannot describe the pain and hardships I’ve had to deal with since that day,” the victim said. “He ripped his family apart that day with every stab and slice of that knife.”

Sylvester is is no stranger to the law. He already spent nine years in prison for trying to kill a former girlfriend in 1999. That point was something Kelli Sylvester’s mother refused to ignore during Wednesday’s sentencing.

“John’s anger has escalated and I fear he will someday have another victim, and this victim will not survive,” she said.

Sylvester was previously diagnosed as bipolar.

“Its almost like a tale of two people,” his attorney said during Wednesday’s hearing.

His attorney said they are not using the diagnosis as an excuse, but he claims Sylvester was off his medication last June and his client does have a good side. Sylvester, who was emotional during the sentencing, did take responsibility for his actions and apologized.

“It’s true about my mental illness, but it doesn’t give me the right to do what I did,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

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