Suspect denies witness accounts of stabbing

Prosecutor: Victim lucky to be alive

Ian Lord

By Ian Lord

Staff Writer

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ST. ALBANS — A city man accused of stabbing another man multiple times pleaded not guilty Monday to a charge of attempted second-degree murder.

Derrick D. Jones, 30, of Lake Street in the city, appeared Monday before Judge Martin A. Maley to answer to the charge that he allegedly stabbed Alex Rodriguez, 25, early Saturday morning.

According to the police affidavit, officers from the St. Albans Police Department responded to the area near the Breakyard Quick Stop on Federal Street at approximately 2:30 a.m., after a report of a stabbing.

Upon arrival, officers found Rodriguez bleeding from his back. Witnesses told officers that Jones, who was referred to by one witness as “Dee Dee” stabbed Rodriguez.

Police said Rodriguez was transported to Northwestern Medical Center, where doctors told officers the victim had multiple stab wounds. Doctors told police they had to use chest tubes to drain blood from around the victim’s lungs so he could breath. After Rodriguez was stabilized, he was transported to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.

Witnesses told police that Rodriguez had been out “at the club” with his girlfriend and friends. Rodriguez had left the bar with a few of his male friends and had gone up to a residence at Hoyt Street, located off Federal Street. According to police, witnesses said it was at the Hoyt Street apartment where Jones and Rodriguez got into an argument.

According to the affidavit, Rodriguez and his friends left Hoyt Street to head back to the bar, but Jones “came out of the house and started charging at Rodriguez.” Edward Bennett, a witness who described the incident in the affidavit, said Jones had a knife and swung it at Rodriguez, who ducked and punched Jones in the face. Bennett reported that Jones grabbed Rodriguez and stabbed him in the back several times before running away.

Bennett described the weapon as a “switchblade”-style blade, with a button, police said in the paperwork.

Police said that after the incident they received information that Jones was staying at a Hoyt Street apartment, where he was located and taken into custody. After being taken to the police department, Jones allegedly told police that he was at the bar from about 10 to 11:30 p.m. before returning to the Hoyt Street apartment where his friends live. He said he fell asleep on the sofa.

Jones told police that Bennett, accompanied by others, knocked on the door and that he and Bennett got into an argument. Jones told police he went back inside and was asleep until the police knocked at the door.

Police said they asked Jones what he was wearing when he went to the bar. According to the affidavit, Jones said he was wearing red pants, a black shirt and a leather jacket. At the time of the police interview, the officer noted that Jones was wearing a red and white striped shirt and blue jeans.

In the affidavit, police described speaking with the tenants of the Hoyt Street apartment, who said they arrived home at about 2 a.m. and said Jones wasn’t there at the time.

A search of the area between the apartment and where the stabbing allegedly occurred didn’t yield the knife or any other evidence. A search warrant was executed at the Hoyt Street apartment and the clothes Jones described he was wearing were found damp and appeared to have just been washed, police said.

In court Monday, Deputy State’s Attorney John Lavoie asked Maley to order Jones held without bail, due to the violent nature of the crime and the fact that a conviction for attempted second-degree murder could lead to a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Lavoie, looking at court documents, read a long list of past offenses Jones was convicted for in New York State. Those included criminal possession of stolen property, petty and grand larceny, criminal possession of a weapon and others.

The victim, Rodriguez — who was listed as being in fair condition Monday morning — was lucky to survive the attack, Lavoie said. The prosecuting attorney told the court Monday that several of the stab wounds easily could have been fatal.

Maley agreed to have Jones held without bail, but he also granted a seven-day discovery order requested by Jones’ public defenders Rory Malone and Steve Dunham. That order gives the defense more time with the evidence presented to the court before proceeding with a trial.