Husband: You have scarred me

By Paul Nelson

August 31, 2012

BALLSTON SPA — Michael McKee told a court he still has many unanswered questions and can’t stop thinking about his brush with death at the hands of his wife last year in their Halfmoon home.

“You have mentally and physically scarred me for the rest of my life, but I’m still going to do what I have to do,” he said between long pauses Friday before Lydia Ann Salce was sentenced to 16 years behind bars for the crime. “I wish I could lock this away in the back of my head and leave it there.”

Saratoga County Judge Jerry Scarano said the evidence during the two-week trial shows this was a “brutal and vicious knife attack” against McKee that “appears to have been unprovoked.”

Scarano also issued a permanent stay-away order of protection that bans Salce, 51, from ever having any contact with McKee, 42.

The defendant told Scarano she wanted to address the court but couldn’t because she planned to appeal the sentence. She then thanked him and the people of Saratoga County for their time.

Last month, a jury convicted Salce of attempted second-degree murder and two counts of first-degree assault for stabbing McKee with a 6-inch serrated knife more than a dozen times early on Aug. 11, 2011, at their Route 9 home. The defense had contended that Salce was defending herself from a drunken McKee, who had punched and kicked her after placing a knife to her neck.

On Friday, McKee talked about “letting his guard down” and said he “became vulnerable again” during the better times in his relationship with Salce. He said he now has put the “shield” back up as a result of the attack.

In asking for the maximum 25-year penalty, Assistant District Attorney Michele Schettino described Salce as an “incredibly dangerous person” who in a pre-sentencing report still refused to accept responsibility.

“When she doesn’t like what’s going on, what does she do?” asked Schettino. “She resorts to violence and then claims she is the victim.”

In 1996, Salce pulled a knife on a College of Saint Rose employee and later pleaded guilty to two second-degree menacing counts in exchange for a sentence of 60 days in jail and 3 years’ probation, prosecutors say.

Public Defender Andrew Blumenberg asked the judge for a 5-year prison sentence, arguing that his client “took a big-time beating,” from McKee, went to college, has always worked and has a daughter, 12, who needs her.

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