ELKTON — A man accused of stabbing his neighbor twice in the chest inside the victim’s Elkton residence in March received a six-month jail term Thursday, after accepting a plea deal, according to court records.
Cecil County Circuit Court Administrative Judge Keith A. Baynes imposed a maximum 10-year sentence on 62-year-old Gary Wayne Kitzmiller, who, moments earlier, had entered an Alford plea to second-degree assault.
In an Alford plea, the defendant maintains his innocence while acknowledging that the state possesses enough evidence to convict him at trial.
Kitzmiller maintained that he had acted in self-defense on March 27 inside that residence in the 100 block of Elk Chase Drive, because the victim attacked him after their argument over money had turned into a fight, police reported shortly after arresting Kitzmiller. (At the time of the incident, Kitzmiller was living in the unit block of Elk Chase Drive, a short distance away, police noted.)
“Kitzmiller advised that he was attacked by (the man) and that he feared for his life. Kitzmiller advised that he grabbed a knife from the kitchen and stabbed him ‘one or two times’,” according to court records.
As part of Thursday’s plea deal, prosecutors dropped the most serious charge, first-degree assault, which is punishable by up to 25 years in prison, and reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum five-year sentence.
The judge ordered Kitzmiller to serve four years of supervised probation after completing his six-month term in the Cecil County Detention Center.
Kitzmiller had spent two weeks in that county jail without bond after his arrest, before gaining his pre-trial freedom April 11 on an unsecured $10,000 bond, court records show.
Elkton Police Department officers rushed to the victim’s Elk Chase Drive residence on March 27, after receiving an assault complaint, police said. They found the stabbed man inside that residence, police added.
“The wounds were consistent with that of a stab wound and the victim was having trouble breathing and speaking,” according to court records.
An ambulance crew drove the stabbing victim to Christiana Hospital in Delaware, where he was treated and later discharged, police reported.
Investigators went to Kitzmiller’s nearby residence, after learning that he was the person who had stabbed the man, and arrested him, police said.
After he had been taken into custody, Kitzmiller painted the man he had stabbed as the aggressor during the dispute and contended that, fearing for his life, he acted in self-defense.
During a search of the victim’s residence, investigators found “a knife that appeared to have been washed in the kitchen sink,” according to court records.
In addition, investigators noticed “blood on the carpet and couch of the living room,” as well as “blood smears and blood droplets” court records show.