Man sentenced to 50 years in brutal stabbing attack that injured Columbus ice skating instructor

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Ryan Halligan

COLUMBUS, Ind. – A man who stabbed an ice skating instructor last year has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.

A judge handed down the sentence last week for Ryan Halligan, who faced a litany of charges in connection with the October 2020 attack at Hamilton Center Ice Arena.

Emma Baxter showed up for work that morning for a lesson, but she encountered Halligan in the parking lot and never made it inside the arena.

According to police, Halligan approached and asked her for a cigarette. He eventually became agitated, and Baxter, scared, got back into her car. Halligan crashed into her vehicle in a stolen car and then stabbed her.

Emma Baxter (Credit: Columbus Parks and Recreation)

Baxter suffered significant injuries and needed several months to recover. She suffered more than a dozen stab wounds, a punctured lung, a cracked skull and a concussion. She managed to call 911 during the incident and was eventually airlifted an an Indianapolis hospital.

Police found Halligan hiding outside a nearby residence and took him into custody. He eventually faced a number of charges, including attempted murder, aggravated battery, criminal confinement and auto theft.

Police said Halligan and Baxter didn’t know each other and described the stabbing as a random attack.

In October 2021, Halligan pleaded guilty to attempted murder. His sentence included the maximum of 35 years on that charge plus a 15-year enhancement for being a habitual offender. He was also ordered to pay restitution to Baxter.

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