FARGO — It's been a confusing year for four-year-old Kobe Poitra. His mother, Kaitlyn Bigtrack, says he often asks where is father is and if he loved him.
Kobe's father, 27-year-old Keanen Poitra, was stabbed to death last year inside his south Fargo apartment. It happened hours before he was set to move out and leave his girlfriend, 33-year-old Terin Stately, and move to Devils Lake. Stately pleaded guilty to manslaughter after being charged with murder in connection to Poitra's death.
"I just feel like they didn't want to put the money or time in by taking it to trial. I feel like she got an easy cop out," Bigtrack said.
She dated Poitra for more than five years. She said Keanen's family and loved ones were not notified of a plea deal until it came out in court. The murder charge was dropped, and Stately plead guilty to manslaughter.
Instead of life in prison, Stately will spend a maximum of 10 years behind bars.
"I think they should take us into consideration," Bigtrack said.
Prosecutors said part of the reason they cut a deal with Stately was because she may not have been trying to kill Poitra when she stabbed him in the groin, Bigtrack said.
"Just the place she happened to stab him in, just happened to be where that main artery is. I'm like, that's murder," she said.
This isn't the first time Stately has been involved in a deadly stabbing.
Ten years ago, she was one of several people charged in connection with a double murder on the Red Lake Reservation. In that case, two people were stabbed to death and their house burned down during a drug robbery. Stately served three years in prison for her role.
Bigtrack called this plea deal a "total disregard for public safety."
"She got off easy the first time, then she went out and did it again. What message are they sending her?"
Bigtrack spent the past year reading law books from the library with one goal. But barring another courtroom surprise, that goal will not be achieved.
"I wanted to make sure he got the justice he deserved — we deserve," said Bigtrack.
Assistant Cass County State's Attorney Ryan Younggren is prosecuting the case. He declined to comment since the case is still open.