Citing self defense, DA won't charge Janesville woman in stabbing death

Sarina Stone will not face charges in the death of Robert Thomas, Jr., after the district attorney said there is enough evidence to support a claim of self defense.

Thomas died early Wednesday morning as a result of a single stab wound to the chest. Initial police reports implicated Stone.

But after having reviewed all the reports in this matter, Rock County District Attorney David O'Leary said the state could not meet its burden of proof (beyond a reasonable doubt) at trial.

There is no question that Stone killed Thomas but the state lacks evidence that would prove that her actions were intended to cause death, according to O'Leary.

While there is a viable theory of prosecution for reckless homicide, a jury would be entitled to hear more than enough evidence to support a claim of self-defense.

It is clear that Stone and Thomas had a months-long relationship that was often, perhaps daily, violent in nature.

The investigation shows numerous prior instances of domestic violence by Thomas against Stone. There would be a significant amount of evidence that would support the argument that Stone was trying to defend herself when she killed Thomas.

Thomas presently has two criminal cases pending (18CM610 and 18CM611) in Rock County. In one of those cases Thomas is accused of battery to Stone and to another woman who tried to come to Stone’s defense.

In the other, Thomas was combative with the police when they tried to arrest him another incident.

A jury would be entitled to consider the details of Thomas’ prior criminal record which includes convictions for several violent offenses.

The Janesville Police Department spoke with several people who said they had seen Thomas hit Stone in the past, had seen her with bruises she said she got from Thomas and had heard him threaten her with beatings.

Based upon the current state of the investigation, the state would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Stone did not act in lawful self-defense; therefore, no criminal charges will be filed at this time, according to O'Leary.

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