CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A Catawba County jury said Tuesday that a Hickory man must serve at least 45 years in prison for his role in an attempted murder in 2021. 

According to district attorney Scott Reilly, 46-year-old Kevin Maurice Linder also was sentenced for the assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill (inflicting serious injury.) 

Linder’s prison sentence is 45 to 56 years for the stabbing of ex-partner Keisha Collins. 

During the six-day proceedings, Gaston County Judge Justin Davis and the jury learned that Linder delivered severe stab wounds to the stomach and a neck laceration to Collins on Aug. 17, 2021. Linder also was found guilty of a domestic violence protective order violation involving a deadly weapon. 

The court imposed this week’s sentence also factoring in the information that Linder was on pre-trial release for another charge at the time of the attack.

Linder will serve his period of incarceration in the custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections. No other information was provided.

During the proceedings, the court learned that Linder and Collins had been in a relationship for several years. Investigation shows that on that day, Collins and Linder were in her vehicle together when he struck her in the face.

The court learned that the victim tried to defend herself, and a struggle ensued. During that struggle, the defendant threatened to kill Collins and used a knife to stab and cut her several times. The depth and severity of Collins’s wounds required emergency surgery.

According to testimony by a resident surgeon from Frye Regional Medical Center, they would have been life-threatening if not given immediate medical attention.

Recorded jail phone calls from the defendant to the victim also provided more evidence of veiled threats he made to harm her.