Stabbing Defendant Found Guilty Less Than 30 Minutes After Closing Statements

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On day two of a bench trial, DC Superior Court Judge Jason Park found a defendant guilty of stabbing a person who was trying to offer the defendant help.

James Campbell, 43, was found guilty of assault with a dangerous weapon and assault with significant bodily injury for his involvement in a non-fatal stabbing on July 19, 2023, that occurred near the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Warder Street, NW. One individual sustained injuries during the incident.

According to witness testimony, Campbell was found sitting near a roadway in a state of apparent medical duress. The victim, who was riding his bike in the area, approached Campbell in an attempt to help him, but the interaction quickly became physical. Campbell allegedly went after the victim. 

According to the victim, Campbell grabbed the victim’s bike, but the victim pushed it against him and hit Campbell in the head, causing a laceration. Campbell then pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim in the arm.

On July 9, the prosecution closed with saying that while Campbell may not have wanted help, many in the area could tell he needed it. The victim tried to help Campbell, the prosecution stated, “but his reward was a stab wound to the arm.”

The prosecution recounted the victim and eyewitness’ testimonies, focusing on the witness’ account, stating that it corroborated the victim’s story.

The witness said he was on a walk near the scene when he saw Campbell under some sort of medical duress. He said he went to help but the victim got there first.

He said he heard the victim asking Campbell if he was okay, needed help, or needed water. He said the victim sounded concerned, not threatening.

The witness said he watched Campbell jump up and start going at the victim. He saw the victim back up into the street, Campbell followed. The witness said he watched as Campbell brandished a knife to stab the victim.

The incident was recorded on the witness’ phone, and correlates directly with the victim’s testimony.

The prosecutor argued that Campbell’s actions were voluntary and on purpose. He said Campbell was aware of what he was doing, which was proven by the witnesses’ description of Campbell consistently following and going after the victim.

The victim’s injuries were found to be significant because it required hospitalization, as well as four internal and six external stitches for the stab wound.

After the prosecution, Campbell gave his closing argument, restating that he acted in self-defense. He argued that the victim used his bike as a weapon against him, repeatedly. 

According to Campbell, he tried to withdraw from the altercation, telling the victim “you hit me, you touched me, you can’t do that, just leave me alone, get away.”

Campbell said he was pushed to the ground and pinned down. He said the victim was the aggressor.

The prosecution responded with video footage that showed that Campbell was “clearly the aggressor.” The victim had tried to leave by riding away on his bike, but Campbell would not let go of the bike.

Judge Park stated that if only the victim and Campbell had testified, his decision could have been different because both accounts of the story were strong. However, he stated the witness account was “the most important testimony,” as it corroborated the victim’s story.

Parties are scheduled to return Sept. 9 for sentencing.

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