Elk­ton man guilty in stab­bing at sta­dium

Record Observer - - Front Page - By AN­GELA PRICE bay­times@kibay­times.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — An Elk­ton man was con­victed of felony as­sault in a stab­bing at a high school foot­ball game fol­low­ing a two-day trial in Queen Anne’s County Cir­cuit Court.

On March 30, Judge Thomas G. Ross found Rod­ney O’Neal Wes­son, 50, guilty of first-de­gree as­sault,

sec­ond-de­gree as­sault and reck­less en­dan­ger­ment. The case was pros­e­cuted by Queen Anne’s County Deputy State’s At­tor­ney Michael “Mick” Cuches. Wes­son, who claimed he acted in self­de­fense, was rep­re­sented by Michael Ja­son Fricker of the county Pub­lic De­fender’s Of­fice. Wes­son elected to be tried by judge rather than jur y.

Wes­son was at­tend­ing the Fri­day, Nov. 11, 2016, Queen Anne’s County High School ver­sus Elk­ton High School foot­ball play­off game at Lions Sta­dium when he got into an ar­gu­ment with his es­tranged wife, who also was at­tend­ing the game to watch their son play, ac­cord­ing to the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice.

As the ar­gu­ment es­ca­lated, Eu­gene King, 39, also of Elk­ton, a friend of Mrs. Wes­son, tried to in­ter­vene and Wes­son stabbed King in the left chest, po­lice said. The as­sault oc­curred on the vis­i­tors side of the field shortly be­fore 8 p.m.

Three Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s deputies were work­ing se­cu­rity at the game. About 8 p.m., near the

end of half­time, First Sgt. John Mey­ers, Dfc. Ge­orge Sewell and Dfc. Mitch Jones were stand­ing near the en­try gate when peo­ple in the stands yelled to them that a man run­ning from the vis­i­tor side bleacher area had just stabbed some­one.

Sewell saw a man walk­ing quickly to­ward the exit. When Sewell made eye con­tact with him, the man took off run­ning through the gate, po­lice said. Deputies gave chase, shout­ing nu­mer­ous times for the man to stop. The man, later iden­ti­fied as Wes­son, ran out of the gate and to­ward the park­ing lot. While run­ning, he passed a garbage can and threw some­thing into it, po­lice said.

Sewell was able to tackle Wes­son. Then Jones checked the nearly empty trash can and found a black, fold­ing, steel knife with a four-inch blade, po­lice said.

Po­lice and Cuches said the knife was the weapon used to stab King, who was flown to the Univer­sity of Mary­land Shock Trauma Cen­ter for treat­ment where he was listed in good con­di­tion Satur­day af­ter­noon and re­leased later that day, ac­cord­ing to a hospi­tal spokesman.

Luck­ily, King did not suf­fer any in­juries to in­ter­nal or­gans or other vi­tal body parts, Cuches said.

Cuches suc­cess­fully ar­gued Wes­son was the ini­tial ag­gres­sor and used deadly force to at­tack King, so self­de­fense did not ap­ply.

When the as­sault oc­curred, school of­fi­cials called it an iso­lated in­ci­dent and said it was quickly con­tained to a de­gree that the foot­ball game con­tin­ued with­out in­ter­rup­tion.

“A large por­tion of the crowd didn’t know it had hap­pened un­til the am­bu­lance showed up,” said sher­iff’s of­fice spokesman Lt. Dale Pa­trick af­ter the game.

Star Demo­crat sports edi­tor Wil­liam Haufe, who was cov­er­ing the game, con­firmed that.

“I was on the Queen Anne’s side­line, and no one there knew any­thing about it. I didn’t know any­thing had hap­pened un­til the heli­copter showed up,” Haufe said.

He said he thought the heli­copter was fly­ing low, then re­al­ized it was land­ing near the con­ces­sion booth. Haufe said he asked the Queen Anne’s trainer if she knew why the heli­copter was there, and she said there had been a stab­bing.

Sen­tenc­ing is set for April 25 in Cir­cuit Court. Wes­son faces up to 25 years in­car­cer­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to the state’s at­tor­ney’s of­fice.

ROD­NEY WES­SON

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