By David Brand
An East Elmhurst woman whose samurai sword slash attack nearly killed her boyfriend in June 2016 was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday.
A Queens jury convicted Karla Barba, 40, of second-degree assault and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in January after a nearly three-week trial before Acting Supreme Court Justice Deborah Stevens Modica. Barba avoided a potential two-decade prison sentence in jail when the jury found her not guilty of first-degree assault.
Barba hacked her boyfriend Franklin Larrea’s arm with a sword during a domestic dispute inside the East Elmhurst apartment they shared. She first grabbed the sheathed sword and struck Larrea. After the sheath fell off, Barba slashed two more times. Larrea’s 12-year-old son was present at the time of the attack and helped Larrea call 911.
“A jury weighed the evidence in this case and rendered a verdict of guilty. This was a brutal attack,” said Queens Chief Assistant District Attorney John Ryan in a statement. “The scene had blood puddles on the floor and crimson red streaks on the walls. This could have ended more tragically, but the victim survived.”
Larrea survived the incident, despite significant blood loss, and reconciled with Barba. He testified on her behalf at the trial and huddled outside the courtroom with Barba’s family after Barba was sent to Rikers immediately after her conviction.
“Por qué?” an unidentified relative cried in the courtroom as the court officers handcuffed Barba in January.
Barba tried to speak to her family in the gallery after her conviciton but was denied.
“She didn’t do it on purpose. It was an accident,” another sister told the Eagle in Spanish outside of court in January.
“The judge could have kept her out,” said Barba’s defense attorney Stacey Richman said.
Nevertheless, Richman said she saw a silver lining.
“I consider it a victory for Karla because she was found not guilty on the top count,” she said. “I believe Karla is factually innocent, but the jury saw it the way they did.”