A 28-year-old man charged with a brutal attack on his girlfriend’s mother with an object believed to be a crowbar is headed to prison.
He may, however, still face additional charges if his victim dies.
Daniel Henkel of Saranac Avenue appeared earlier this week before Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court and entered pleas of guilty to three counts of felonious assault and one count of attempted murder. Three of those charges involve the same victim and would merge for purposes of sentencing.
Henkel, after some sort of disagreement, attacked the older female victim and one of her daughters sometime in 2011 causing severe injuries to the mother.
Nicholas Brevetta, an assistant county prosecutor, said the mother will never again be 100 percent healthy after the attack. “It was truly horrific,” he said.
Brevetta said the case has taken some time to resolve because prosecutors wanted to make sure Henkel would be held accountable in the event the woman dies of her injuries without concerns of double jeopardy coming into play. Those matters were ironed out in the plea agreement.
“He has agreed that if the victim dies, and it is a proximate result of injuries sustained in the assault, we can indict him on murder charges,” Brevetta said.
Judge Durkin sentenced Henkel to a five-year prison term on the standing charges and will be placed on five years’ parole upon the completion of the sentence.
Brevetta said any additional charges will be a matter to deal with should the victim die and it is determined her death is directly related to the attack. He said the family, under the circumstances, is happy with the agreement.
“Under the circumstances, they are happy we can go after him if something more-tragic happens,” he said.
The attack on the woman is not Henkel’s first time through the court system for a vicious assault. He was convicted in 2005 of assaulting and trying to kill his father.
Vindicator files show the Henkel family was at home Feb. 28, 2005, when the power went out. James Henkel, the father, went to the basement in the dark to check the electrical box, and Daniel was waiting there and stabbed him. Daniel is the Henkels’ adopted son.
Daniel Henkel, in that case, served a three-year sentence in prison imposed by former Judge Maureen A. Cronin of common pleas court.