A California man has pleaded guilty and been sentenced in a violent stabbing of three Cherokee County men in 2018.

Erik York Cruz, 22, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and 10 years on probation Sept. 28, the Cherokee County District Attorney’s office announced Friday.

Cruz entered a guilty plea to 3 counts of aggravated assault and 5 counts of aggravated battery. At the conclusion of the hearing, sentenced him to 30 years, with the first 20 years to serve in confinement and the remaining 10 years to be served on probation.

Cruz, who was on probation for stabbing his parents at their home in Vista, California, traveled to a Ball Ground home Dec. 22, 2018.

There, Cruz became “agitated and combative,” and made accusations of infidelity involving his relationship with one of the victims and another roommate, prosecutors said. One of the residents demanded that Cruz leave. When Cruz refused, the man called 911 in reference to an “unwelcome guest.”

Authorities said Cruz stabbed the man on the 911 call, and then the two other men. All three victims received multiple stab wounds that left permanent scarring and nerve damage. One victim was stabbed 24 times.

One resident grabbed the knife by the blade to protect his friend and kicked Cruz down the steps. He then retrieved a Samurai sword in a defensive manner to stop the assault.

When Cherokee Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived at the home, they found a gruesome scene, with four injured men and no clear indication of who was the aggressor.

One victim had been eviscerated and needed immediate life-saving treatment. The other victims had stab wounds to the head, neck, and abdomen. Cruz also had a self-inflicted wound.

“On the night of this incident, law enforcement officers walked into a chaotic scene and quickly went to work. Deputy Kurtz Garfield literally held one victim’s life in his hands and restrained a very violent individual while waiting for backup to arrive. Deputy Jamel Campbell controlled the scene and the bleeding of the other injured parties,” said Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Rachel Ashe, who prosecuted the case. “One resident of the home did what any hero would do – he ran towards danger to save his friend. If not for his intervention, I have no doubt that this attack would have resulted in a homicide.”

Probation conditions include no contact with the victims, evaluation and treatment for mental health and substance abuse, no possession of alcohol or illegal drugs, and payment of restitution and attorney fees.

“Domestic violence usually begins with manipulation and control, which escalates to violent acts. No one expected this defendant to react in the way that he did. He was relentless in his drive to inflict injury on these men. They are lucky to be alive,” said District Attorney Shannon Wallace. “This sentence will ensure that society is protected and that this violent man remains in confinement for a very long time.”

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