Bellingham Woman Gets 17 Years In Prison For Fatal Stabbing

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state woman was sentenced to nearly two decades in prison for fatally stabbing her father to death during an argument over a cigarette in April 2020, a judge said.

Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Robert Olson sentenced Kali Marie McConnell, 34, on Monday to 17 years in prison with three years probation, The Bellingham Herald reported.

McConnell accepted a deal and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in May in the death of her father, Dale M. Henefin, 57. She was previously charged with first-degree aggravated murder, first-degree murder, second-degree assault and first-degree burglary. The deal lowered her charges.

The Whatcom County medical examiner’s office said Henefin died after his brain failed to receive enough oxygen following a single stab wound to the left side of his chest, The Herald previously reported. His death was ruled a homicide.

Prosecuting Attorney Eric Richey said he believes the agreed 17-year sentence recommendation between the prosecution and defense was a just resolution. Richey said McConnell did not go to her father’s house with the premeditation to kill him.

Her public defender, Maialisa Vanyo, said the sentence was significant and that it will impact McConnell’s life and the lives of everyone she loves, including her three children. Vanyo said McConnell does and will continue to struggle with profound grief and regret over her father’s murder.

“I just want everyone to know how truly sorry I am for all the pain that I’ve caused. I’m devastated by the amount of lives that have been negatively affected by this horrible incident,” McConnell said during her sentencing hearing. “I wish I had the power to turn back time before all of this happened. I wish I had the power to bring my dad back. I feel terrible, and I pray that someday I’ll be forgiven.”

Court records show McConnell was also sentenced in a second-degree assault case from an unrelated event in March. Her prison time for the separate sentence will be served simultaneously.