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20 years for stabbing

A year and a half after a brutal stabbing at a downtown Grass Valley restaurant, the man accused of trying to kill his former girlfriend agreed to a plea deal that will put him in prison for more than 20 years.

Jose Odilio Saravia was 55 on Jan. 1, 2003, when he stabbed the woman at Amigos & Co. Mexican restaurant at 108 E. Main St., where the victim worked. He pleaded “no contest” June 21 to a charge of attempted murder. As part of the plea agreement, another charge called “mayhem” – intentionally causing permanent disability – will be dismissed at his sentencing, scheduled for July 26.

According to court records and police, the woman, 32 years old at the time, was stabbed repeatedly in the face, hands, chest and leg with a 12-inch knife that came from the restaurant kitchen.



The victim was not identified by authorities.

“It was a difficult case from the beginning for a couple of reasons,” Deputy District Attorney Kathryn Kull said Tuesday.




The difficulties included finding multiple translators for Saravia, now 57, and others involved in the case, getting all of the witnesses in the same room and a debate over whether prosecutors could use a statement Saravia made to police while he was at the hospital.

“I don’t think he will be quite this dangerous when he gets out,” Kull said. “If he makes it out of prison … he would get deported to El Salvador (where he is from).”

Before the attack, Saravia reportedly sneaked into the restaurant through the back door, where he picked up the knife and waited for the woman by the front entrance.

The woman suffered neck and hand lacerations and lost the use of a kidney, according to court documents. Despite the numerous wounds, she was able to escape outside and into a nearby business. Restaurant patrons locked the doors to keep Saravia inside, and he collapsed onto the floor in the dining area after receiving two stab wounds in the abdomen during the attack. It has been unclear exactly how he received his wounds.

Kull said the plea agreement, which she expects a judge to accept, is a reasonable outcome of the case.

“It protects society and the victim,” she said. “This has been devastating for her financially, as well as physically and emotionally.”


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