Two arrested in knife attack |

Two arrested in knife attack

Bias played a role in stabbing, prosecutors allege

Joshua Roberts

— A 39-year-old Craig man was transported Wednesday evening to The Memorial Hospital after two men, one of them using a knife, allegedly attacked him at the Baker Hotel.

Craig residents Stephen Daniels, 31, and Brett A. Smith, 21, have been arrested and charged in connection with the alleged incident. Smith allegedly used the knife to stab Michael Dewayne Armstrong in the back and arm, Craig Police reported.

Authorities allege ethnicity played a part in the attack against Armstrong, who is black.

The 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges, which include a felony count of bias-motivated crime, Friday against the two suspects. Smith also faces a felony first-degree assault charge, and Daniels faces a misdemeanor third-degree assault charge.

Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said officers are not commenting on the motive behind the alleged assault. The incident is under investigation, Vanatta said.

Brett Barkey, chief deputy district attorney, stopped short of comparing the bias-motivated crime charge to a hate crime, and instead referred to the charging document.

According to the document, Smith and Daniels caused injury to Armstrong because of “his actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation.”

Patient privacy laws limited what information TMH could release regarding Armstrong’s condition.

Hospital spokeswoman Samantha Johnston said Armstrong was treated in the emergency room. His injuries were not fatal, she said.

Armstrong was once on the Craig Police Department’s most wanted list for failure to comply, first-degree trespassing and impersonating a police officer. He is listed on the department’s Web site as having been captured.

According to court clerks, Smith has cases pending for driving under the influence and third-degree assault. Daniels has no criminal history in Moffat County, a court clerk said.

Police responded to the Baker Hotel, 538 Yampa Ave., about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday on a report that someone had been stabbed. At the hotel, police found Armstrong with multiple stab wounds.

Witnesses told police about the two suspects, along with their possible first names and descriptions. Based on witness information, Corporal Travis Young and officer Tony Fandel contacted the two suspects at the Craig Motel.

The two suspects were then taken into custody and booked into the Moffat County Detention Center.

Smith remained in custody as of Friday afternoon and was being held on $50,000 bond. Daniels also was in custody, and was being held on $10,000 bond.

They are scheduled to appear in court at 11 a.m. Nov. 27.

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