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3 people stabbed at party, 1 fatally

They were trying to break up a fight between two other people, authorities say. A Homosassa man is arrested.

By SUZANNAH GONZALES
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 1, 2002


HOMOSASSA -- One person died and two others were injured after they were stabbed early Saturday morning trying to stop a fight that broke out at a party in Homosassa, according to the Citrus County Sheriff's Office.

Police initially charged 24-year-old Michael Scott Knicely, 6615 S Beagle Drive, Homosassa, with three counts of attempted second-degree murder. His bail was set at $15,000, $5,000 for each count. Because one person died, however, one charge likely will be upgraded to second-degree murder, Lt. Joe Eckstein said. Knicely remained at the Citrus County Jail on Saturday morning.

The names of the stabbing victims have not yet been released by the Sheriff's Office.

At 2:04 a.m., a 911 call was made from Knicely's Homosassa house, according to an arrest report by the Sheriff's Office. The caller said three people had been stabbed.

When deputies arrived, they found three injured people, two of whom were unable to provide authorities with information due to their medical conditions, Eckstein said.

The two were flown by helicopter to Tampa General Hospital. One was in critical condition and at least one was in surgery, the report said. One of these victims later died, Eckstein said.

The third victim, who was less severely injured, identified Knicely as the person who stabbed him and the other two, the report said. He was then taken to Seven Rivers Community Hospital in Citrus County for medical treatment.

The man told investigators Knicely was physically fighting with another person and the three of them tried to separate the two, the report said.

The victim said when he tried to pull Knicely off the other person by pulling on his left arm, Knicely "came around with his right arm and stabbed him," according to the report. The other two were stabbed immediately afterward, the report said.

Other people at the Homosassa residence confirmed that Knicely had been fighting, but it was unclear to investigators how many witnessed the stabbings, the report said.

There were indications that Knicely had been drinking alcohol, Eckstein said.

Knicely told a deputy that "he was only trying to protect himself," the report said. But later, Knicely denied making the statement or stabbing anyone.

According to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records, Knicely has no criminal history in the state.

-- Suzannah Gonzales can be reached at sgonzales@sptimes.com or 860-7300.

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