A man who stabbed and seriously injured several people at a downtown Mason City bar last year has been sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.
Raul Millares Arias, 40, Mason City, will be deported immediately upon being released from prison.
He was charged with five counts of felony willful injury resulting in serious injury and felony going armed with intent following an incident on the Fourth of July at The Place 2B, 116 N. Federal Ave.
One of the victims, Elaine Kockler, read a statement during Arias' sentencing hearing on Tuesday in Cerro Gordo County District Court.
She said she spent nine days in intensive care due to a collapsed lung and lost one of her legs due to a blood clot.
She's now trying to get used to a prosthetic leg, but is having difficulty and is using a wheelchair.
"I went from a vibrant woman to one who needs help to go to the bathroom," Kockler said.
She said Arias stabbed people due to a "temper tantrum" and needs to be in prison for a long time.
Everyone in the bar that night was a victim, whether they were stabbed or not, according to Kockler.
Cerro Gordo County Attorney Carlyle Dalen said Arias' crimes impacted the entire community.
Arias entered an Alford plea with Cerro Gordo prosecutors on March 29. An Alford plea is when a person does not admit guilt but acknowledges prosecutors likely can prove the charge.
The joint recommendation from the state and the defense was two, 10-year prison sentences for two of the willful injury charges and a five-year sentence for the armed with intent charge to be served consecutively.
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Prosecutors and Arias' attorney, David Skilton, also asked that the 10-year sentences for each of the other three willful injury charges run concurrently with the other counts for a total sentence of up to 25 years.
Judge James Drew still had the option to give Arias the maximum possible sentence of up to 55 years in prison. However, he said the sentencing recommendation was reasonable.
Arias had previously intended to rely on an intoxication defense.
On Tuesday, Arias submitted a letter to the court that he wrote with the help of an interpreter.
"I have seen the video of the harm I did to the people in the bar," the letter stated. "Although I don't know how I did this, I know I hurt these good people and I am sorry. I have never hurt anyone ever and I know I can't drink and won't drink in the future."
Skilton said Arias was studying to receive his license to be a truck driver at the time of his arrest.
Arias also had applied for and received a Green Card as a refuge from Cuba, according to Skilton.
By being arrested, "He lost everything that he had," Skilton said.
An evaluation determined Arias suffers from depression, insomnia and paranoia, according to Skilton.
Arias had been asked to leave the downtown Mason City bar July 4 before stabbing four men and a woman with an 8-inch knife and attempting to stab a sixth person, according to police.
He was chased out of the bar by a customer and detained by witnesses across the street before police arrived.
The five people who were stabbed sustained serious injuries to their necks or backs, according to police.