A woman who stabbed a child protection worker in a state office building in Camden last year pleaded guilty Monday.
Taisha Edwards, 31, of Camden, pleaded guilty in Superior Court to attempted murder. In return, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office agreed to recommend a 13-year term in state prison, it said in a news release.
Edwards, a client of the state's Department of Children and Families, had been meeting Leah Coleman, a caseworker, at the state agency's Division of Child Protection and Permanency office on the 100 block of Haddon Avenue on Nov. 17, 2014. Shortly after 1 p.m., in the hallway outside Coleman's office, Edwards repeatedly stabbed the caseworker with a nine-inch steak knife.
Communications Workers of America, the union that represents caseworkers, said the incident highlighted dangerous conditions in which its members work and complained about the lack of protection.
Armed guards had just been withdrawn from the building, and that day was the first without their patrol presence. The officers, who work for the Department of Human Services, were back the day after the attack.
Armed guards with metal-detecting wands soon appeared in each building housing local child protection offices.
Coleman's coworkers saw the attack and subdued Edwards. Coleman was taken to Cooper University Hospital, and was released two weeks later. She had nearly two dozen stab wounds, including to the neck and face.
No motive for the attack was given in court, according to Andy McNeil, spokesman for the Prosecutor's Office.
Coleman was in court with family and friends when Edwards pleaded guilty. Edwards will be required to have no contact with Coleman or Coleman's family and friends.
Sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. April 10.