Fargo woman pleads guilty to fatally stabbing boyfriend

Because Terin Rene Stately used a knife, she faces a minimum of four years in prison.

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Terin Rene Stately

FARGO — A Fargo woman has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge for fatally stabbing her boyfriend in his upper leg near his groin last year in her apartment.

Terin Rene Stately, 33, changed her plea Friday, June 25, after Cass County prosecutors offered to drop her murder charge to manslaughter for the death of 27-year-old Keanen Joseph Poitra of Fargo. Under the lesser charge, she faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

Stately was slated for trial next week. Instead, she will undergo a presentencing investigation and assessment before Judge Steven McCullough decides her penalty.

Prosecutors alleged Stately and Poitra got into an argument before Stately stabbed Poitra’s upper leg near his groin at about 3:30 a.m. May 30, 2020, at 1633 33rd Ave. S. She sliced open his femoral artery, which resulted in Poitra bleeding to death in the apartment, prosecutor Ryan Younggren said.


Stately gave various accounts of the stabbing, including one that said the argument was about drugs, according to prosecutors. She told one investigator that Poitra had been cheating on her, Younggren said.

Her defense attorney, Stormy Vickers, suggested in a previous hearing that Stately acted in self-defense. One officer testified that Stately said Poitra assaulted her in the past and moments before she stabbed him.

By pleading guilty to manslaughter, Stately has given up on those claims. She agreed that she recklessly caused Poitra’s death instead of intentionally killing him.

Because she used a knife, she faces a minimum of four years in prison. The presentencing investigation could take about 60 days to complete, so a sentencing hearing will be held after that is finished.

Stately remains in custody at the Cass County Jail.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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