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Sentence suspended in stabbing

May 28, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

A New York man on Thursday received a suspended sentence and probation after he entered an Alford plea in Washington County Circuit Court to a charge of reckless endangerment in connection with an August stabbing.

Eric Patrick King, 26, of 10 Otis Road in Islip Terrace, N.Y., entered the plea in connection with an Aug. 16, 2003, fight that left one man with stab wounds to his arm and abdomen.

Charges of attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault and second-degree assault were dropped in exchange for his plea.

Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but agrees the state has sufficient evidence to gain a conviction.

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Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Gina Cirincion said that on Aug. 16 at about 3:40 a.m., Adam Lee Rowe, 30, who had been stabbed, was found outside 10 E. Salisbury St. in Williamsport. At the time, Washington County Sheriff's Department deputies were responding to a report of a large fight in the parking lot at Sheetz at 100 E. Potomac St.

One witness said a fight between a few men escalated when one man took a beer bottle and struck Rowe over the head, court documents say. The man, wearing a New York Yankees baseball cap, used the broken glass to stab Rowe, while yelling, "Don't mess with New York City," charging documents say.

A witness identified King as the man wearing the baseball cap, court documents say.

King told Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell that he was visiting family in the area when the incident occurred.

Cirincion said the state had planned to go to trial with the case, but witnesses have been in and out of prison and the victim, who was not in court Thursday, said he didn't remember what happened because he was intoxicated.

She said the state could have convicted King based on "the process of elimination," but said the case against the man was shaky.

"This case really could have gone down in flames," Cirincion said.

King's attorney, Gordon Lynn, said he thought he had a good case, but warned King of the state's potential to get a conviction by "process of elimination."

McDowell said he wasn't sure 12 jurors would be convinced of King's guilt. He handed King an 18-month suspended sentence and placed him on unsupervised probation for one year.

"My biggest goal is to just get him out of Hagerstown," Cirincion said.

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