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Man is sought for stabbing another in assault and battery case

Assault and battery are criminal violations in Arkansas that in general involve the threat of force or the infliction of force against another person. There are several degrees of assault and also of battery, which are graded based on the severity of the harm or the risk of harm that is involved. In a recent incident in Fort Smith, police have charged a 29-year-old man with second degree battery for allegedly stabbing another man in the abdomen in an altercation.

The suspect remained at large, and the police issued an arrest warrant for his apprehension. He allegedly stabbed the 25-year-old male over an argument in which the suspect and others allegedly called the victim a "snitch." The victim and the suspect apparently know each other, and police say that the victim "confronted" the suspect over the reported disputes. The stabbing victim was taken to a local hospital for injuries that police said were not life-threatening.

The police apparently have based their warrant on statements by the victim and other witnesses.  However, the fact that the victim confronted the suspect first raises the issue of provocation. The authorities arguably should have obtained the suspect's version of the facts first. Defense counsel will investigate the factual circumstances in-depth to determine whether the victim threatened or provoked the suspect into action.

The presence of provocation can in some cases provide a self-defense argument, but only if the victim also used force or the threat of force with some form of weapon. That is not a factor according to the police version of the events. However, it is difficult to see why the suspect would have responded to a simple complaint or gripe by the victim with an immediate stabbing. It is more likely that the victim was making at least some form of assault or threatening moves toward the suspect. The intimidation by the victim could work to reduce the gravity of the allegations pursuant to Arkansas law.

Source: arkansasonline.com, "Police: 25-year-old stabbed at Arkansas apartment complex; man sought", Brandon Riddle, June 9, 2016

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