Stabbing suspect had 3 knives

Published 10:07 am Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The weapon used in an alleged stabbing on Saturday was a boot knife, according to statements filed Monday in Freeborn County District Court, and it reportedly was one of three knives the suspect was carrying.

Joseph Alan Roberts

The man suspected in the stabbing, 21-year-old Joseph Alan Roberts of Albert Lea, appeared in court Monday before Judge Ross Leuning.

Roberts faces a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon. It is second-degree felony assault. It has a maximum penalty of seven years in prison with a $14,000 fine.

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Bail was set at $50,000 for no conditions or he can post $25,000 with conditions, which include no drugs or alcohol, reporting every day and staying out of bars, among other terms.

According to the court files, Albert Lea police officer Tim Harves at 10:36 p.m. drove to City Beach to see whether the skate park had been locked. He noticed two men shaking hands. One had a torn shirt and both looked like they had been in a fight.

Harves asked who won the fight, according to the court files. Roberts and 21-year-old Ehric Martin Barnes of Albert Lea denied that a fight occurred. Barnes had the torn shirt and claimed it was torn on a tree. The two walked away in opposite directions.

Harves asked two others, a male and a female, about the fight, and they denied that there had been a fight. Harves asked them to leave the skate park because it was going to close. As he was locking the skate park, the female who had just said there was no fight told the officer that her friend had been stabbed.

The officer found the man, the court files state. It was Barnes, and he had a one-inch bleeding wound in his abdomen.

Harves asked why he didn’t tell the truth. According to the court files, Barnes said he didn’t know he had been cut. An ambulance arrived and took him to the emergency room at the Albert Lea hospital. He was reportedly in stable condition with injuries that are not life-threatening. A hospital spokeswoman said his wounds were treated and he was transferred to another hospital. She couldn’t say which one.

A witness told the officer that Roberts and Barnes encountered each other at City Beach and “exchanged words,” the files state.

“He said that they began fighting and throwing punches at each other. He said that he never saw a knife.” The female agreed that she never saw a knife.

The victim, according to court files, said he never saw a knife either but “the defendant hit him in the stomach.” He described it as a “good body shot, like a punch to the kidney.”

Roberts was arrested near Katherine Island. Officers reportedly found three knives on him — a boot knife in his back pocket, a throwing knife in a small pocket on the right side of his shorts and a lock knife on the front left pocket of his shorts.

“The boot knife appeared to have a blood smear on it,” the court files state.

The files don’t say how long the knife was. Boot knives are designed to be hidden in a boot but often are carried on a belt. Most have double-edged blades.

Roberts told police he went to the beach because of an exchange of email messages with a babysitter who offered a chance for him to see his son. He thought it was a setup of some sort.

“The defendant said that as soon as the stabbing victim hit him, the defendant backed up and got his knife,” the court files state.

He told police he initially had no intention of using it but became scared.

Barnes likely will not face a misdemeanor charge in connection with the alleged fight.

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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