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Man found not guilty in downtown St. Pete stabbing

A man accused of attempted murder lost his effort to have the case thrown out under Florida's Stand Your Ground law on Wednesday, but he wasn't disappointed. By the end of the day Wednesday, a jury found William R. Wasel not guilty on charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault.

Wasel, 37, a St. Petersburg tattoo artist, was arrested after a 2012 incident inside and outside the Octave Bar, 661 Central Ave. Police said Wasel punched a man in the face and after others confronted him, stabbed a man.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Philip Federico refused to throw out the case based on Stand Your Ground.

But in trial on Wednesday, Wasel testified that he was afraid for his life because he had been hit over the head by another man, and pulled out his pocketknife because he felt threatened. His attorney, Kelly McCabe, showed photos of the scars and scratches Wasel received on his head and face during the fighting.

Wasel faced 30 years in prison if convicted. He had been out on bail awaiting trial prior to the not guilty verdict.

"I thought the whole time it was self-defense," McCabe said.

Man found not guilty in downtown St. Pete stabbing 04/23/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 7:34pm]
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