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Man given probation in sword stabbing

February 10, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown man who pleaded guilty last month to stabbing his brother-in-law with a samurai-style sword was placed on three years unsupervised probation for the attack on Monday.

Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone sentenced David Allen Banzhoff Jr., 23, of 113 E. Franklin St., to five years in state prison but suspended the sentence and gave him credit for time served at the Washington County Detention Center.

Banzhoff's attorney, Bill Knight, said the sentence was based on a plea to reckless endangerment.

The victim in the Aug. 17, 2003, attack at their shared apartment on Franklin Street, Michael Brandon Barnett, did not testify in court Monday, but Boone recalled the man's former statement, which played down the impact of the altercation.

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"He said he actually saved my life when he stabbed me," Boone said.

In January, Barnett testified in Circuit Court that the stabbing was accidental and "it helped me in the long run."

Barnett told Boone at that time that during surgery to repair the damage done by the sword, doctors uncovered a medical condition of which Barnett said he had not been aware.

Although he did not specify the condition, Barnett said "that would have killed me two years down the road."

In a preliminary hearing on Sept. 16 in Washington County District Court, Hagerstown Police Detective Steven Hoover testified that three people saw Banzhoff retrieve a sword with a 29 1/2-inch blade during an argument at Banzhoff and Barnett's apartment.

Hoover said the witnesses told police they saw Banzhoff lunge at his brother-in-law with the sword. Barnett sustained a single puncture wound to his side and spent a week in Washington County Hospital, police said.

Banzhoff and Barnett left the courthouse together Monday.

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