Robert Ferrin, accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriend’s lover on board a boat anchored off of East Beach last year, was sentenced to six years in state prison Wednesday. After initially facing multiple charges that included attempted murder and kidnapping, Ferrin opted to reverse his initial plea of not guilty as part of a bargain struck with the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office. As a result, the more serious charges were dropped in favor of a guilty plea to one count of assault with a deadly weapon. Ferrin also earned a felony strike.
Before the sentence was handed down however, presiding Judge George Eskin afforded those so inclined an opportunity to address the defendant in open court. While the victim Jeff Carpenter elected not to speak, his mother, Judith Darnley, made ample use of the opportunity. Over the course of five minutes, Darnley switched from an angry indictment of the accused, punctuated by emotional, rhetorical questions such as, “Why did you stab my baby?” to pleading with the judge to hand down the maximum possible sentence. Addressing Ferrin directly, Darnley concluded by vowing to appear at any future parole hearings the defendant might be eligible to “fight you every step of the way.” When asked later if she was happy with the outcome of the day’s proceedings, Darnley insisted she was not, asserting that she believes Ferrin should have gone to trial for the attempted murder of her son.
Ferrin, according to authorities, convinced someone to row him out to Carpenter’s boat, where he found his ex-girlfriend with Carpenter. He proceeded to stab Carpenter eight times, who pleaded with Ferrin to stop attacking him, allegedly telling him, “I think I’m dying.” Ferrin told Carpenter he would stop his attack if Carpenter took the dinghy to shore, and the victim obliged, despite his injuries. Ferrin escaped to the Midwest and was not captured for more than six months.
Deputy District Attorney Paula Waldman, on the other hand, defended the plea agreement after the hearing as justice served, citing the felony conviction and six-year sentence. She did acknowledge that she empathized with Darnley’s feelings on the matter.
Nevertheless, the sentencing phase is far from over. On September 16, both victim and defendant will be back in court in order to determine the amount of restitution for which Ferrin is liable. Carpenter is asking the court to consider his request for an award against Ferrin for just over $40,000 in lost wages. Carpenter alleges that he has been unable to work due to the physical and mental injuries that he suffered and is asking that the court ensure he is compensated. In order to defend his claims, Carpenter is likely to take the stand and testify when the proceedings resume on the 16th, after which Ferrin will be remanded to state prison to serve out the remainder of his six-year sentence.