- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut mother of four who was facing five years in prison for a non-fatal stabbing lost a bid Thursday to get her entire sentence suspended, increasing her worries that her children will end up in foster care.

Latasha O’Bryan, of New Haven, appeared at a commutation hearing before the state Board of Pardons and Paroles, which reduced her prison sentence to two years and one day.

O’Bryan has said that none of her relatives is able to care for her children and that she doesn’t want them to be forced into foster care by the state and possibly be split up.

A home health care aide, O’Bryan has been free since a judge stayed her sentence pending appeals and parole board proceedings. It wasn’t immediately clear when she will have to report to prison.

“The effect of her incarceration is predictably going to be catastrophic on the children,” said Neal Cone, her public defender. “There are legal options available that we are looking into.”

O’Bryan was convicted by a New Haven Superior Court jury in 2012 of second-degree assault and attempted first-degree assault. A judge sentenced her to the mandatory minimum five-year prison sentence carried by the attempted assault conviction.

Prosecutors said O’Bryan plunged a knife more than 3 inches into Lawanda McCrae Murdock’s chest on Memorial Day in 2010, just missing vital organs. The two women had been in a feud that included a spat over a man, Cone said.

O’Bryan testified that she was forced to stab Murdock in self-defense because Murdock came at her with what looked like a box cutter, but the jury rejected her story and the state Supreme Court upheld her convictions.

“It scares me and it worries me,” O’Bryan told The Associated Press in January, referring to the prospect of going to prison and leaving her family behind. “I’m not a threat to society at all and I’m an excellent citizen. I have not been in trouble before this and I have not been in trouble after.”

O’Bryan at the time of the stabbing had no criminal record, while Murdock had a lengthy criminal history that included more than 40 convictions for larceny, writing bad checks and other crimes. Only weeks after being stabbed, Murdock was charged with leading police on car chases with five children in her car.

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