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Anonymous call leads to arrest in stabbing

Published August 11, 2006

PORT RICHEY - This is what Latanya Smart told the deputies.

She met Michael at the Downtown Lounge. She didn't get his last name. One day he showed up at her manufactured home and decided he'd move in.

He stayed about a week, until late July, until the night another man uttered words that besmirched her honor. Authorities say Michael sank a pocketknife into that man's midsection.

The other man was Christopher Carpenter. He is 37. He was flown out by medical helicopter. Michael fled north on foot.

He stayed free until Thursday, when the deputies came for him, after an anonymous caller told them he'd returned to Smart's place.

It turned out his last name was Giardina, and he was 25, and he had more than a dozen prior arrests in Florida on charges from burglary to battery to grand theft auto.

He was held Thursday in lieu of $10,000 bail on a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. The woman who answered the door at Smart's place that afternoon said her name was Latanya.

She was asked about the stabbing, and this is what she said:

"I don't know what you're talking about."

Then: "It's nobody's business."

Then, when asked about the fate of Carpenter, the stabbing victim: "I guess he's doing fine," an assertion that could not be confirmed.

No one answered the number listed for Carpenter on Thursday afternoon. The voice mail greeting identified him as Tree Man Chris, and an automated female voice said the mailbox was full.

Then the voice said, "Good-bye," and only beeping could be heard.

[Last modified August 11, 2006, 06:21:12]

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