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Duluth-area man stabbed by girlfriend says they still plan to marry

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DULUTH - A Solway Township man who was critically injured when his girlfriend stabbed him with a butcher knife told the court Tuesday that he forgave the woman and is looking forward to marrying her and spending the rest of his life with her.

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The woman, Shawn Marie Melton, 45, pleaded guilty last month to first-degree assault in the Nov. 28 incident at the couple's home. Under terms of a plea agreement accepted by Judge Eric Hylden, Melton received a stay of imposition of sentence. If she complies with conditions of her five-year probation, the case will be discharged and for civil purposes -- employment applications, for example -- she will have a record of a misdemeanor instead of a felony.

Melton has no prior criminal record.

Hylden ordered that Melton serve 60 days in a female offender program unless that interferes with her employment, in which case she will serve her time in the Bethel Work-Release program. She was ordered to abstain from alcohol and non-prescribed drugs and is subject to random testing to make sure she is abstaining.

Melton must undergo counseling and participate and complete the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project women's program.

According to the criminal complaint, Melton told the 911 operator that she and the victim, John Kaarbo, were intoxicated and fighting and "being drunk and dumb."

St. Louis County sheriff's deputies responding to the 911 call from Melton found her leaning against the back screen door of the house where she and Kaarbo lived. Kaarbo, 41, was found lying on the couch with his hands on his chest. There were two stab wounds to his torso. He said Melton had stabbed him and he told her she'd better finish him off. She then stabbed him again, he said.

A physician listed Kaarbo's condition as critical and said he would have died from his injuries if not treated. Melton suffered two black eyes, a broken nose and bumps on the back of her head during the incident.

Kaarbo told Hylden that he and Melton are now engaged to be married and are closing on a house they are buying together next month. He said the couple have been sober since that night.

"The whole incident was life-changing for both of us,'' Melton told Hylden. "The end result was positive. There is no more alcohol use on either of our parts. ... We're looking to the future together.''

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