New Jersey man convicted in New Year's Eve slashing

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) - February 15, 2014

Robert Hankins of Toms River was also convicted on weapons charges in the 2011 attack, which occurred at a crowded party in Lakewood.

Ocean County jury deliberated for just five minutes before returning its verdict this week. Prosecutors say they will seek a prison term of nearly 27 years for Hankins when he's sentenced March 28.

Witnesses testified that Hankins put the 58-year-old victim in a chokehold and slashed her neck. He then took the same knife and slit his own throat.

The victim, a Manchester Township resident who was a bartender at the American Legion Post where the party was held, nearly died from her injuries. Prosecutors say she has since recovered from her injuries, but endures nightmares and can no longer work because she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Prosecutors said the woman had sent a letter to post officials several weeks before the attack occurred, claiming Hankins had been threatening her and that he frightened her.

Hankins $250,000 bail was revoked after the verdict was handed down Wednesday.

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