A Shawnee man charged in a December 2017 stabbing at Shawnee's Walmart was sentenced Wednesday to serve life in prison.

A Shawnee man charged in a December 2017 stabbing at Shawnee's Walmart was sentenced Wednesday to serve life in prison.

Roy Dean Harjo, 58, appeared in Pottawatomie County District Court for a blind plea sentencing before District Judge John Canavan. To avoid a trial, he had previously entered a guilty plea on one felony count of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, along with four counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, court record show.

First Assistant District Attorney Adam Panter said a group of high school students interrupted a domestic disturbance between Harjo and his wife on Dec. 1, 2017, which resulted in Harjo pulling a knife and stabbing one teen several times.

Harjo was identified by several witnesses and was seen yelling and hitting a woman when the teens tried to stop that assault.

Panter said the victims and victims’ families were all present, with some of them reading victim’s impact statements to the court. 

“We played the Walmart surveillance video and admitted Department of Corrections records proving Harjo’s extensive violent criminal record,” Panter said.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the state requested that Harjo be sentenced to life in prison on every count

The judge followed that recommendation and sentenced Harjo to life sentences on every count. The four assault with a dangerous weapon sentences run concurrently, with one of them running consecutively to the first life sentence for assault with a deadly weapon. That count was for the stabbing of Dillion Burge, who was 17 years old at the time of the incident.

“These kids showed tremendous courage intervening in a domestic altercation which could have very easily ended badly for Harjo’s wife,” Panter said. “They also showed tremendous courage enduring the court process while we sought justice on their behalf. They are all very good kids who did not deserve to be thrust into the situation they were put in, but they could not have handled it any better or with any more class.”

Panter, who said the stabbing victim was extremely close to death, said he is doing well but still has a long road ahead of him to fully recover.

“We are very happy that the defendant will spend the rest of his life in prison where he will not be able to hurt another innocent person in our community again,” Panter said.

Harjo will remain jailed in the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center until he is transferred to the Department of Corrections.