UPDATE: Dahms learns prison sentence in murder case - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Dahms learns prison sentence in murder case

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PORTAGE COUNTY (WAOW) -

Two families -- torn apart -- after a series of arguments led to the stabbing death of an Amherst woman last year. On Wednesday, 20-year-old Tyler Dahms learned he will spend 23 years behind bars for his crimes. 

In January, Dahms was found guilty of stabbing and killing Karen Dombrowski last year after a series of arguments involving two groups of people.

"He was attacked by a number of individuals," said defense attorney James Lex. "He was convicted as a result of those attacks but he was attacked."

Dahms also stabbed Karen's brother-in-law Kenneth Dombrowski and was convicted of trying to kill him. The jury acquitted Dahms of trying to kill Karen's husband, Michael. Family members on both sides shared stories of grief as their lives turned upside down.

"I hope he understands what he's done because I honestly believe he's not a monster," said Karen's aunt Jinny Lee Waters. "But he needs to understand he killed somebody."

"Whenever we would go around, we would continue to hear one person who would continue to bash our side and I just let it go," said Robert Dahms, who is Tyler's father. "As time went on, you just kept hearing it but you move on. Life goes on. Rumors are rumors."

Judge Frederic Fleishauer sentenced Dahms to 23 years behind bars plus another 9 of extended supervision. The judge said he didn't think Dahms would be a danger to the community or needed to rehab in prison. But because of the gravity of his crimes, there was no question Dahms would spend time behind bars.

"There's no magic number," said prosecuting attorney David Knaapen. "We don't have a special chart we go to that says, this is where the person fits in."

During Dahms' trial, jurors learned Kenneth and Karen Dombrowski -- as well as Dahms -- had been drinking, with blood alcohol levels above the legal limit.

"There is an opportunity for life to go on with this concrete resolution," said prosecuting attorney Cass Cousins. "Certainly there are those lingering issues out there and I think the judge made that clear."

"What we need to do is change the culture," said Knaapen. "Unfortunately you need tragic circumstances to get the public to be galvanized to want to take those steps."

The judge acknowledged that no amount of prison time could undo the pain felt by the two families. But he encouraged the community to come together and move forward.

Dahms was also sentenced for two burglary charges. For those, he faces six years of prison and six years of extended supervision. Dahms will serve that at the same time as his current sentence.

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