Central Texas woman gets probation after impaling ex-boyfriend with steak knife during fight
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A Leon County woman who threw a steak knife that impaled the back of her former boyfriend’s leg last year was placed on felony probation Wednesday.
Jurors in Waco’s 19th State District Court deliberated about an hour before rejecting prosecutors’ pleas for prison time and recommending that Judge Thomas West place Eden Victoria Orndorff on probation for 10 years and fine her $3,000.
The jury deliberated about two hours Tuesday before convicting the 32-year-old Orndorff of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
This was not her first brush with the law. Orndorff was placed on deferred felony probation in Leon County last year on an evading arrest in a vehicle charge, was given a day in a jail on a misdemeanor assault-family violence conviction in 2019, and was placed on deferred probation in Madison County on a terroristic threat charge in 2017.
Because there is no final judgment of guilt in deferred probation cases, Orndorff was eligible for probation in the aggravated assault case.
She also has two assault-family violence with a prior conviction charges and a violation of a protective order charge pending against her in McLennan County, according to court records. Her ex-boyfriend, Jamey Holland, is the alleged victim in those cases, also.
The couple was in a volatile, on-again, off-again relationship for 15 months.
Before her aggravated assault trial this week, Orndorff rejected a plea offer for five years in prison from prosecutors Duncan Widmann and Will Gray, who asked the jury Wednesday to assess Orndorff a prison term ranging from eight to 10 years.
“We thank the jury for their time and consideration, and we hope the verdict brings some sense of justice and closure to the victim in this case,” Widmann said after the three-day trial.
Orndorff was convicting of throwing a steak knife that lodged in the back of Holland’s leg during a Nov. 7, 2021, domestic dispute at Holland’s camper trailer in the China Spring area. She claimed her actions were in self-defense.
Orndorff’s attorney, Justin Reed, of Groesbeck, said that while they are disappointed that Orndorff was convicted, they “respect the hard work the jury put in.”
“We were happy that they looked at all of the evidence and decided to allow her to have the opportunity to go on probation,” Reed said. “This was a toxic situation and I hope all parties learn and become productive citizens.”
Holland, who was on parole at the time for failure to stop and render aid, testified Monday that Orndorff started hitting him while he was driving after she saw photos on his phone of him with his ex-wife and kids at a ball game. He said the argument continued when they got back to his camper. He tried to walk away from her when he felt the steak knife pierce the back of his leg, he said.
Orndorff testified that Holland punched her in the back of the head, threw her to the ground and slammed her into the corner of a table, which badly bruised her ribs. She said her head was bleeding, so she grabbed the steak knife in an effort to get Holland to quit assaulting her.
“I was freaking out,” she said. “I was terrified.”
They left the camper and Holland knocked her to the ground, straddled her and spit in her face, Orndorff testified. He got up to walk away and she threw the knife from about 2 feet away, she said. The blade buried more than half way into his leg.
She said Holland screamed, fell to the ground and then asked her to bring him a beer, while he concocted a story they would tell hospital staff members about his injury being caused by a chainsaw while he cut firewood.
Both acknowledged agreeing to tell the bogus story, although they knew doctors easily would know it was not true.
“I knew it was inevitable I would get in trouble, but I didn’t want to tell what happened because I didn’t want either of us in trouble,” she said. “I really did love him a lot and I didn’t want him to get in trouble. I wanted to fix it. I thought we could work it out.”
A doctor who treated Holland testified he saw no blood in Orndorff’s hair or on her clothing, as she testified.
In closing statements, Widmann and Gray told jurors that Orndorff has had multiple chances to change her behavior but has failed to do so. They said she deserves prison time because of the violent nature of the offense and because she violated the terms of her bond, the conditions of probation and a protective order.
Reed told the jury that despite the conviction, Orndorff feels gratified because she got to tell her side of the story.
“What they were doing is not love,” Reed said. “What they were doing was going to send one of them to prison and it was going to send one of them to the grave. My biggest hope and prayer for both of those is that they stay away from each other…
“You have seen the toxicity between both of them. We are not making excuses for what she did by an means. But I think this is someone who needs help. This is someone who needs a probation officer and someone in her life to love her and to care for her. We forget that in the criminal world sometimes. She’s a person. She needs help.”
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