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Man gets 20 years for attempted murder

August 28, 2018
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Eric Daniel Woody, 52, listens Monday to statements being read during a sentencing hearing in Skagit County Superior Court.

MOUNT VERNON — A man who pleaded guilty to attacking his estranged wife and another man with a machete was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison.

Eric Daniel Woody, 52, accepted a plea deal Friday before his trial was to begin Monday in Skagit County Superior Court. He pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault with a deadly weapon enhancement.

Prior to pleading, Woody faced 39 to 50 years in prison for two counts of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree burglary and violation of a no contact order.

On March 12, 2017, about 10:12 p.m., police received a call stating Woody had forced his way into a Bay View residence and was attacking his estranged wife Rhonda Polinder (formerly Rhonda Woody) and her friend Michael Rash, court documents state.

When police arrived at the residence, they witnessed Polinder’s left hand almost completely severed from her arm and a cut running from the top of her head to her jawline, documents state.

She was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where doctors amputated a portion of her left arm.

Documents state Rash was taken to Skagit Valley Hospital for treatment of severe cuts to his head and arm and numerous abrasions he received while trying to get the machete away from Woody, who fled the scene.

Woody was located in a camper that night, his hand bleeding from a cut.

A search of Woody’s vehicle revealed a receipt for a machete — the same type used in the attack — that had been purchased the day before the assault.

Before Skagit County Superior Court Judge Dave Needy handed down the 20-year sentence, Polinder addressed the court.

She said things got really bad during the last few years of her relationship with Woody, remembering what it was like to live under surveillance cameras in her own home.

“(Woody) used to say, ’I’ll never hurt you. I’ll only hurt the people you love,” she said.

Those words held her prisoner until one morning when she left.

She said Rash was staying with her to keep her safe when Woody attacked them.

“If Michael wasn’t there, I’d be dead,” Polinder said. “He’s my hero whether he admits it or not.”

In addition to losing part of her left arm, Polinder said the assault cost her some function in her right hand and some vision problems.

Woody apologized to Polinder before being sentenced.

Moving forward, Polinder hopes to use her experience to help other victims of domestic violence. Her goal is to open a home where survivors can escape their abusers.

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