Eagle man’s stabbing sentence cut short after serving 122 days
Not THAT Tim O’Brien
There’s a Tim O’Brien who owns and operates O’Brien Woodworks, located at 189 Spring Creek Road, Unit F. Call him at 970-471-0381. He is not the Tim O’Brien who went to jail for stabbing Spencer Kluesner.
EAGLE — A local woodworker is out of prison, but not completely out of the woods.
Tim O’Brien, 58, of Eagle, served 122 days of a three-year prison sentence, a tenure he said was “transformative on every level.”
“I would not wish this experience on anyone,” O’Brien told District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman. “Call it karma or the hand of God, I don’t care. It got my attention and sparked my humility.”
In releasing O’Brien from prison Wednesday, Dunkelman said O’Brien’s behavior was part of a developing pattern, saying “tough economic times and too much alcohol were part of the problem.”
Dunkelman warned that if O’Brien violates his parole and probation, then he goes straight back to prison for up to six years. He’s on probation for four years.
“Mr. O’Brien, it’s on you. You have a lot resting on this if it comes back,” Dunkelman said.
“I believe it has taught me to treat life with the diligence and reverence it deserves,” O’Brien said.
Sentenced for stabbing
O’Brien was sentenced for stabbing Spencer Kluesner during a fight.
Kluesner was stabbed twice and said O’Brien tried to stab him several more times. Kluesner spent four days in intensive care and two more days in the hospital.
O’Brien fled the scene and hid the knife.
While his case was pending, O’Brien was caught with alcohol and violating a restraining order.
“The only reason this was not a murder trial is that I was lucky. He missed the vital organs,” Kluesner told Dunkelman. “I believe the remorse is for the situation he’s in, not for anything he has done.”
Kluesner said he was out of work for four months and spent the past six months trying to dig out of the financial hole it created.
“Four months in jail and probation seems light to me, when a guy tries to murder someone,” Kluesner said. “The violence, lethal nature of the attack, and ignoring the protection order, the punishment should fit the crime.”
“I cannot undo what I have done,” O’Brien said. “I can only offer my deepest apologies to all the victims.”
O’Brien, a professional woodworker, pulled a tool from his belt during a fight with Kluesner and stabbed Kluesner twice in the abdomen, according to police.
O’Brien told Eagle County sheriff’s deputies that Kluesner had him in a wrestling-style choke hold and that he could not breathe.
One of Kluesner’s puncture wounds is 1 inch long, and the other is an inch and a half long and about a quarter inch deep, according to the police reports.
The whole thing started when Kluesner was running a gas-powered weed trimming machine at his landlord’s house in Eagle’s Upper Kaibab neighborhood. The landlord was said to be O’Brien’s girlfriend at the time, and O’Brien had asked Kluesner to turn off the machine because of the noise.
Since that Aug. 15, 2014, incident and prior to his sentencing last summer, O’Brien had been arrested for gun possession, drinking and violating a restraining order.
“How will you handle a situation like this differently?” Dunkelman asked O’Brien during Wednesday’s hearing.
“Walk away,” O’Brien replied. “I thought I was above the law. I don’t know what came over me. I will never again take life and God’s gift for granted.”
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.