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Woman sentenced to life in prison after attempted murder of St. Lucie County deputy

Leigha Michelle Day stabbed Deputy Cody Colangelo in neck in 2022
Posted at 8:11 PM, Apr 10, 2024

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A 23-year-old Fort Pierce woman was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for stabbing a St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office deputy two years ago.

Leigha Michelle Day was found guilty of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer by a jury six days earlier.

Cody Colangelo was injured by Day after the rollover crash on March 23, 2022.

Colangelo, who missed 2 1/2 months of work, was in the courtroom for the sentencing.

WATCH: Deputy discusses sentencing of woman who stabbed him

St. Lucie County Deputy Cody Colangelo discusses sentencing of woman who stabbed him

"Just happy it's over with, got to testify and get it over with," Colangelo told WPTV reporter Jon Shainman after the sentencing.

St. Lucie County Sheriff Keith Pearson told Shainman that his deputy was trying to help Day when she attacked him.

"Our deputies responded to help somebody who was involved in a car crash," Pearson said. "The last thing they ever thought that would happen is they would be the ones needing help."

During a news conference, Pearson said: "This incident highlights the very real dangers law enforcement face every day. I am honored to lead the men and women of the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office and proud to work alongside the first responders whose swift, heroic actions saved Deputy Colangelo's life."

Colangelo found Day walking along the shoreline after a rollover crash on Indian River Drive.

As Colangelo and Day made their way back to the scene of the accident, Day abruptly turned toward Colangelo and stabbed him in the neck with a knife, according to prosecutors.

Despite being stabbed and suffering a severe injury, Colangelo chased after Day while applying pressure to his wound, authorities said.

At that point, Colangelo lost sight of Day and began radioing other deputies for help. Authorities eventually found Day hiding down an embankment and took her into custody.

Colangelo's department-issued body camera captured the entire incident.

WATCH: 2022 WPTV report after body-cam video released

Stabbed deputy's body cam video released

Colangelo underwent a two-hour surgery during which doctors replaced part of the artery in his neck with one from his leg.

He joined the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office in 2020 and comes from a law enforcement family. His father and brother both worked for the agency.