Franklin man sentenced in stabbing

Published 10:25 pm Saturday, February 10, 2018


Special to Windsor Weekly


A Franklin man was sentenced last Friday to more than 16 years to serve in an August stabbing.

Jacob Richard Zeno, 19, pleaded guilty to aggravated malicious wounding. Three other charges— one count each of attempted murder, conspiracy and shoot, stab, cut or wound — were not prosecuted as part of a plea agreement.

James Kenneth Rhoten Jr., 29, also is charged in the crime.

According to court documents, the two believed their sister — though she may or may not actually be related to them, they call her their sister, according to statements in court on Friday — was in danger of being hit by her boyfriend or that he had already done so.

They went to where the couple was early in the morning of Aug. 21. An altercation ensued, and Rhoten and Zeno are accused of stabbing the man and beating him with a blunt object.

The victim, a 22-year-old man, was able to call 911 and immediately identified Zeno as the person who stabbed him. Police pulled the vehicle over a short time later.

Zeno later said to Rhoten on the phone from jail, “When he punched you, I jumped in and straight stabbed him.”

The victim was in a coma for almost two weeks, in the hospital for a month and had multiple surgeries, according to statements in court. He lost part of his intestine and suffers from extensive scarring. Medical bills totaled nearly $450,000.

Zeno had a prior conviction related to stabbing as a juvenile, according to court statements.

Zeno was sentenced to 16 years and four months of active time with 18 years and eight months suspended.

Rhoten, of Courtland, has a trial date set for Wednesday, March 28.

TRACY AGNEW is the editor of The Suffolk News-Herald. Contact her at