James Blair Sentenced To 40-Years to Life

July 18, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 3:52 PM EDT

By WKBW News

July 18, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 3:52 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW-TV) - "I stand here one year to the day that I almost lost my life," says 51-year-old Collen Murray who spoke for about eight minutes in State Supreme Court Wednesday morning addressing her attacker James Blair.

Murray says she suffered 54 broken facial bones and a lengthy 9-hour surgery that left her with 39 screws in her face.

"There was a time I couldn't even look in the mirror at myself because of the horror I'd seen on my face," said Murray.

Towards the end Murray looked Blair in the eye and uttered "i forgive you James Blair."

Blair will spend 40-years to life behind bars for the attempted murder and burglary of Murray. Prosecutors say Blair and Lincoln Ablack attacked Murray from to prevent her from testifying against a previous burglary at her West Utica Street home.

"Blair stabbed her repeatedly, tied her up and left her to die in her own home taking her phone so she couldn't even call for help hanis, brutal crime," said Assistant District Attorney Michael Felicetta.

Blair showed no remorse during court and declined to say anything.
However, Blair's defense attorney Joseph Terranova says Murray never identified Blair as the attacker.

"Ms. Murray speaks as if she witnessed my client do these things to her and that just didn't happen," says Terranova. "She knows that somebody did but she doesn't know that my client did."

Terranova says Blair was following co-defendant Lincoln Ablack who recently plead guilty to all the charges he was facing.
Ablack will be sentenced next month and faces 15 to 40 years behind bars.