Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Stabbing Was No Gang Rite

The Columbia Flier reports that the man who stabbed the jogger in Running Brook last spring has pleaded guilty to second degree assault.

Police caught up with Vernon Leroy Costley, 19, after his godmother alerted police that he and his knife had showed up at her doorstep.

There's always been a bit of a mystery about why someone would run up to a complete stranger and stab him.

During an Aug. 21 hearing, a police detective theorized in a video that the stabbing was a gang initiation rite. But that theory was refuted in a statement agreed upon by both prosecution and defense attorneys, and read by [Judge Lenore] Gelfman Tuesday.

Costley, a Wilde Lake High School graduate, told police that he was hanging out on the night of the stabbing with a male identified only as “Skino.” At one point, Skino yelled to Costley, “That’s the guy from the bar the other day. Grab him.”

Costley, who had been drinking alcohol, then approached the man from behind and stabbed him, according to the statement. The wound required one stitch.

State sentencing guidelines called for a two-year sentence.

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