Lexington man pleads guilty to fatal stabbing in 2022

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Wesley Tingey via Unsplash

A 26-year-old charged with stabbing a woman to death has pleaded guilty to amended charges related to her death.

Justus Bales, of Lexington, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and faces 17 years in prison. He was originally charged with murder — domestic violence in March 2022.

According to court documents, Bales entered a plea of guilty but mentally ill on July 25, 2023.

Bales is alleged to have stabbed 54-year-old Leslie Bales at a home off Southland Drive. When police were called to the home, they found the victim with “multiple stab wounds” which caused her death.

Despite a plea of guilty but mentally ill, Bales was found competent to stand trial by a physician.

By pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter, Bales faces 17 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 7.

Taylor Six is the criminal justice reporter at the Herald-Leader. She was born and raised in Lexington attending Lafayette High School. She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 2018 with a degree in journalism. She previously worked as the government reporter for the Richmond Register.

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