Karen Harrelson
Karen Harrelson

Judges have weighed in on the case of a York County couple who attacked each other with knives while arguing over the singing prowess of "American Idol" contestants, and both defendants avoided prison sentences for the mutual assault.

But the big prize for Karen Elaine Harrelson and Gregory L. Stambaugh is that, after being sentenced, a court order was lifted that forbade them from having any contact with each other.

"They truly love each other ... and they can't live without each other," said defense attorney Mike Fenton, who represented Stambaugh. "All I can say is, I wish them the best of luck."

Deputy prosecutor Alex Hallman said a modified order remains in effect that prohibits Harrelson and Stambaugh from having any "threatening, abusive or harassing contact" with each other.

Gregory Stambaugh
Gregory Stambaugh

He confirmed the couple is still together.

Inebriated: Hallman said he has doubts the couple resorted to attacking each other the night of May 15 in Stambaugh's home because of a passionate disagreement over television singing contestants.

"I would say it was more about the inebriation," he said.

While being sentenced Tuesday, Harrelson told presiding Senior Common Pleas Judge John C. Uhler that she and Stambaugh had been watching "American Idol" when she went into the kitchen to cut a piece of cake.

Harrelson told the judge that Stambaugh was "hammered" and said they began arguing, which led to them cutting each other with knives, according to Hallman.

She also told the judge she never did get to eat that piece of cake, the prosecutor said.


Guilty pleas: Harrelson, 48, of Red Lion, pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor simple assault and was sentenced to 13 days to 23 months in county prison, which was a time-served sentence.

Stambaugh, 57, of West Manchester Township, pleaded guilty to the same charge on Aug. 23 and was sentenced to two years of probation, according to court records.

Standard-range state sentencing guidelines did not call for prison time, Hallman said.

Harrelson's attorney, public defender Joshua Neiderhiser, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Minor injuries: Harrelson and Stambaugh originally were charged with felony aggravated assault, but those charges were withdrawn at their preliminary hearings because each suffered only superficial wounds, prosecutors have said.

Harrelson suffered cuts on the top of her wrist and her fingers; Stambaugh suffered a puncture wound to his forearm, according to court documents.

Stambaugh told officers both he and Harrelson were drunk at the time, documents state.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at levans@yorkdispatch.com.