SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A judge sentenced a South Carolina man Friday to 50 years in prison for the 2020 stabbing death of his mother in Sioux City, Iowa.
District Judge Jeffrey Neary sentenced Paul Belk, 32, of Beaufort, South Carolina, after finding him guilty on Oct. 1 of second-degree murder and possession of marijuana, according to the Sioux City Journal. Belk must serve as least 35 years before he's eligible for parole.
Belk stabbed his mother, Lisa Belk, 16 times with two knives and a pair of scissors while they were an apartment on April 14, 2020. He had arrived in Sioux City the day before.
Belk's lawyers argued he was insane at the time of the assault but a prosecution psychologist said Belk was able to distinguish right from wrong.
Before the sentencing, Belk's sister Zoe Belk said their mother would have forgiven him, saying “Mom still loved you when she died." His sister Suzi Belk said she was having a hard time forgiving him because “you exposed my children to the most evil they will ever see."
The judge found Belk guilty of second-degree murder, saying his marijuana use aggravated an underlying mental illness and that prevented him from forming specific intent to kill his mother as required to convict on first-degree murder.