A Spokane woman pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon Thursday for stabbing a Butte woman last September.
Shelley Marie Kroum, 42, was initially charged with attempted deliberate homicide after stabbing a 39-year-old woman in the chest outside her home the evening of Sept. 1, 2019. That charge carries a maximum sentence of death or up to life in prison.
But in a deal with prosecutors, Kroum pleaded to a lesser charge of assault with a weapon, which has a maximum sentence of 20 years and fine up to $50,000.
District Judge Kurt Krueger accepted the plea and ordered a pre-sentence investigation for Kroum.
According to charging documents, the victim said her boyfriend used to date Kroum but they had broken up about two months earlier. The boyfriend was jailed in Gallatin County when the stabbing occurred, and Kroum is married to someone else.
Kroum said she received a message from the victim about wanting to meet and talk, so she drove to Butte. The victim said she didn't send a message but she agreed to meet anyway.
The two met at the victim’s apartment. Kroum said she still loved the man in question, “but the talk never got heated and no threats were made by either party,” the victim told police.
The two prayed together and after about 30 minutes, they walked outside along Jackson Street. The victim said Kroum put her arm around her, said, “I am so glad we could be friends,” and struck her in the right chest area.
The victim thought she had only been punched but heard the sound of metal hitting the sidewalk and realized Kroum had just stabbed her, prosecutors said in the charging documents.
The wound was about 3 inches deep but the knife did not penetrate her chest cavity, so after receiving stitches at the hospital, she was released. Police recovered a knife blade and handle near the scene of the stabbing.
Over the course of last September, police talked to the victim, several other people and the suspect herself before a warrant was issued and Kroum was brought to Butte in early October.
Kroum told police when the two were walking, “she saw a dark figure come out from behind the bushes and she got scared and took off running to her car and then drove as fast as she could to get away from the area,” according to prosecutors.
A man in Washington told police he met Kroum in the early morning hours of Sept. 2. He said Kroum told him that she and the victim were walking down the street in Butte when something dark jumped out.
She told him later that she had a knife in her hand at the time “when someone wearing dark clothes jumped out and scared her,” and she might have stabbed the other female in the chest, prosecutors said.
She said it was a kitchen knife, and during a later police search of Kroum’s home officers found a knife block with one knife missing. The knives were similar to the one recovered from the scene.
Get local news delivered to your inbox!
Subscribe to our Daily Headlines newsletter.