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Homeless Man Gets 20 Years For Knife Attack At East Chicago Train Station

CROWN POINT, Ind. (STMW) -- Lake Superior Court Judge Clarence Murray sentenced a homeless man to 20 years in prison for aggravated battery in a knife assault on a man at a train station.

Jawaun Dontell Woods, 25, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the charge in the Nov. 26 assault at the South Shore station, 5615 Indianapolis Blvd., East Chicago.

The victim, Chintan Shah, 29, was waiting for his wife to arrive on the train and was using the bathroom at about 5:42 p.m. when Woods walked up from behind, grabbed his hair, pulled back his head and cut his throat with a knife. The man put his hand to his throat and Woods demanded the keys to his car and threatened to kill him.

Woods then tried to stab Shah as he turned to face Woods, who continued trying to stab the man and yelled for his keys. Shah's left hand was slashed by the knife as he tried to fend off Woods, who pinned Shah to the wall with his body. Shah threw his keys, wallet and cellphone to the floor. As Woods bent down to retrieve the victim's property, he released Shah, who ran from the restroom to the parking lot for help.

Woods took the man's 2005 Honda Accord and drove away.

Deputy prosecutor Judy Massa told the judge that Shah's winter coat with a high collar likely saved his life. Shah received seven stitches for his throat wound and eight for his hand wounds, and later underwent surgery on his hand and physical therapy because of tendon damage from the attack.

Defense attorney Susan Severtson said her client has been diagnosed with mental illnesses and was not taking his medication at the time of the assault. Afterward, Woods drove to Indianapolis, where he fell victim to a crime, Severtson said.

Murray, who imposed the sentence outlined in the plea agreement, said he would recommend to prison authorities that Woods receive mental health evaluation and treatment. "You are a danger to the community when you are not on medicine," Murray told Woods, who apologized for his actions.

Woods faced 20 to 50 years on charges of attempted murder and robbery, which were dismissed along with a carjacking charge.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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