Woman accused of stabbing her husband enters not guilty plea

·3 min read

Aug. 4—CHIPPEWA FALLS — A former Chippewa Falls woman accused by authorities of stabbing her husband in the chest last October has entered a not guilty plea.

Ashley M. Dietrich, 34, is charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless injury-domestic abuse. Dietrich, now of Thorp, posted a $100,000 cash bond in November. As terms of her release, she can't have any contact with the victim.

Dietrich appeared in person, where she entered the not guilty pleas to both counts. Judge James Isaacson set a status conference for Oct. 31. No trial dates have been set at this time.

According to a police report, Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matt Kelm said officers were called to a home at 525 Old Eau Claire Rd. at 8:06 a.m. Oct. 15, 2021.

"Officers responded to a report of a male that had been stabbed in the chest," Kelm said. "We learned that he had been dropped off at a hospital."

The victim was later transferred to a hospital in Rochester, Minn.

Dietrich was located at the house, unconscious, and arrested without incident, Kelm said. She was taken to a hospital for a medical evaluation.

"Based upon items located at the scene, it appeared that Ms. Dietrich attempted suicide," the criminal complaint states. "Also found at the residence was an eight-inch fixed blade kitchen knife next to the dresser on the south wall of the bedroom."

The officer found fresh blood on the knife blade.

The victim's t-shirt and sweatshirt were collected from the hospital, which showed a 2 1/2 -inch vertical incision in the upper right chest area. The officer also found a suicide note.

When the officer later interviewed the victim, he said Dietrich was physically assaulting him and he needed to restrain her. He added that Dietrich had a history of being physical toward him.

Dietrich later told investigators she was only trying to harm herself, but the victim tried to get the knife away and, in doing so, he accidentally was cut. However, Dietrich could not explain how the victim was accidentally stabbed. She admitted to being suicidal.

Court records show the victim filed for divorce in November.

Dietrich was convicted in Bayfield County Court of reckless driving-endangering safety in May, stemming from an incident Aug. 8, 2020, and was ordered to pay a $456.50 fine. A charge of driving drunk with a minor in the vehicle was dismissed.

Chippewa Falls police officer Drew Zehm testified at a preliminary hearing earlier this year. Defense attorney Matthew Krische pointed out to Zehm that a suicide note was also addressed to Dietrich's husband, which indicates she wasn't trying to kill him.

Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell said her intentions don't matter; all that matter is he was seriously injured from a stab wound. Newell said the wound was so severe that the victim needed a blood transfusion to keep him alive during surgery.