Press Release: People v. Heintz, Paul Thomas, 3/14/11
March 14, 2011
R. Scott Owens
PLACER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
10810 Justice Center Drive, Suite 240
Roseville, California 95678
For Immediate Release
Date: March 14, 2011
Public Information Officer
Assistant District Attorney
DEFENDANT IN SIERRA COLLEGE STABBING
INCIDENT GETS 11-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE
Paul Thomas Heintz, who was found guilty by a jury of attempted murder in a 2009 stabbing incident at Sierra College in Rocklin, has been sentenced to 11 years in state prison by a Placer County judge.
Heintz, a 24-year-old Rocklin resident, stabbed a former friend several times in the abdomen in a fit of rage because the friend had begun a relationship with a woman who had previously gone out with Heintz.
During Friday’s sentencing, Placer Superior Court Judge Colleen Nichols, who presided over the jury trial in September, also placed Heintz on five years parole after he gets out of prison and said hearings on restitution owed to the victim will be scheduled in the future.
Heintz was found guilty by a jury on September 30, 2010, of felony counts of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. The jury also found that special allegations of inflicting great bodily injury and use of a deadly weapon, a knife, were true.
Evidence at the trial established that Heintz, who was a student at Sierra College, hated his former friend and classmate, Alex Abrahamian, because the latter had begun seeing the woman that Heintz had dated on two occasions.
On March 24, 2009, Abrahamian, who was on spring break from Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo, came onto the campus at Sierra College to see old friends, including the woman, who was a student there.
Heintz testified during the trial that he became upset when he saw Abrahamian and the woman in front of the science building. After the woman left, Heintz ran after Abrahamian with a knife and jumped him from behind, stabbing him at least five times in the torso.
Several other students on campus rushed to Abrahamian’s aid. One of them stopped the attack while two others tended to the victim’s wounds.
Abrahamian suffered major injuries and underwent three surgeries, according to Placer County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Wilson, who prosecuted the case.
Heintz testified that he snapped and wanted to hurt Abrahamian but that he had no intention to kill him. The jury determined that a special allegation that the attack was premeditated was untrue.
In a court hearing last month, a letter written by Abrahamian, now 23, was read to the judge by a victim’s advocate for the District Attorney’s Office.
Abrahamian, who was not present at that February 9 hearing nor at Friday’s sentencing, wrote that he was angry about opportunities taken away from him during his long period of recovery.
“Enduring months of extreme pain, multiple hospital visits and relearning to walk and run were not in my plans for spring and summer of that year,” he wrote. “The scars I have on my body act as a constant reminder of those very dark days that will haunt my memories forever.”
Wilson, the prosecutor, said at last month’s hearing that it was only by “a matter of inches” that Abrahamian was still alive from the knife attack.
He noted that a number of letters of support were submitted to the court by friends and family of Heintz.
“They are well meaning,” Wilson said. “But they have little understanding of the other side of Paul Heintz - the angry side that lashes out violently. He is a public safety risk.”