Man says he regrets attacking wife with meat cleaver

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WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (WYMT/WKYT) - A Whitley County man who jurors say attacked his wife with a meat cleaver talked from jail.

On Thursday night, a jury convicted James Privett on assault charges but found him not guilty of attempted murder. Privett faces up to twenty years in prison for the assault conviction.

Privett told WYMT's Angela Sparkman what happened the night a verbal argument escalated.

James Privett disagrees with the jury's verdict.

"I felt it was under my state of mind. It would be under extreme mental disturbance but they didn't see it that way," he said.

Privett admits he hit his wife with a meat cleaver in February of last year. He says he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when the two got into a fight.

"I felt somebody touch me from behind and I didn't realize it was my wife, and I turned and swung wildly with the meat cleaver. Unfortunately she was struck five times," Privett said.

He says he blacked out but remembers trying to help her.

He has been in jail ever since that night.

"There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about what happened. To do that to somebody you love, it's a horrible, horrible thing," Privett said.

He says he and his wife have talked frequently since that night.

He says he still loves her even though she testified at his trial.

Sentencing is scheduled for March.

"One of the worst punishments though is having to deal with that, have that on my heart, my mind, tearing at my soul that this happened, you know that I hurt somebody this way, somebody I loved. It's a horrible feeling," Privett said.

Robert Stephens, the Assistant Whitley County Commonwealth's Attorney who prosecuted the case, was unavailable to do an interview on Friday, but says he is pleased with the verdict and twenty year recommended sentence.

Privett says he is considering appealing the verdict.

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