Man gets six years for holding machete to woman’s throat, threatening life of her, children

Posted:  Thursday, December 28, 2017 - 9:30pm

BELFAST — A Belfast man will serve six years in prison after holding a machete to his then girlfriend’s throat in a December 2016 attack on his family.

Shawn D. Kivlin was sentenced for a number of charges after pleading guilty in Belfast Unified Criminal Court Dec. 20, including six years in prison for aggravated assault and five years in prison for domestic violence criminal threatening.

He was also sentenced to serve 364 days in prison for each of three additional charges, including two counts of domestic violence assault and domestic violence terrorizing.

All sentences will run concurrently.

Kivlin came to the attention of Belfast Police after a juvenile resident fled the shared apartment to call for help, reportedly telling officers about the assault. 

Four responding officers heard arguing upon their initial approach. The woman who answered the door reportedly stated that Kivlin, who was still in the apartment, was going to kill her.

After interviewing the visibly injured victim, officers learned that the two had been arguing because Kivlin believed the woman had taken his debit card. The altercation escalated until Kivlin reportedly pushed the woman onto the bed, straddled her, and held a machete to her throat while threatening to kill her and the three children in the residence.

As the assault continued, Kivlin began slamming the victim’s head against a door while choking her, leaving visible finger marks around her neck.

One of the children also reported to officers that Kivlin had grabbed his head and pushed him backward.

Kivlin began his sentence immediately.

Erica Thoms can be reached at