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Woman Gets 18 Years for Castration Try

November 28, 2003

SANTA FE (AP) _ A woman has been convicted for her role in the attempted castration and assault of a Santa Fe man last year.

Melissa French, 27-year-old single mother, was not present when four of her friends attacked Donald Hamilton, her former boyfriend, at his home in June 2002.

Jurors, however, found that French was involved in planning the attack.

French was convicted Wednesday of a felony charge of first-degree kidnapping. That charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 18 years in prison, more than any of Hamilton’s attackers faced earlier this year after accepting plea deals from the state.

A Russian assault rifle was placed in Hamilton’s mouth, then later fired between his legs, and the word narc was carved into his forehead with a pocketknife. He suffered separated shoulders, stab wounds and several broken bones.

French’s attorney, Stephen Aarons, said he was shocked by the verdict. He said French’s daughter, who suffers from cancer, will be dead and her 10-year-old son will be grown by the time French is released.

Aarons said French was offered a plea deal that carried a minimum sentence of four years in prison, but she turned it down.

Prosecutors said French told the attackers that Hamilton had burglarized the home of her ex-husband, Haley G. French, one of the attackers.

After showing the attackers where Hamilton lived, French was dropped off at a convenience store and waited for the four to return from the attack, deputy district attorney Linda Lonsdale said.

French’s presence at the store ``while the dogs she had unleashed did her dirty work does not absolve her from guilt,″ Lonsdale said.

The sentences given to Sean McMurray, 31, and Joey L. Eicher, 26, both of Los Alamos, and Jamie Porton, 22, and Haley French, both of Alcalde, totaled 20 years.

Eicher is already out on probation, and Porton has less than a year left on her sentence.

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