Man convicted in Silver Spring bar fight stabbing

- A Silver Spring man convicted of stabbing another man following a violent bar fight is facing up to 25 years in prison.

It all happened inside Odalis Restaurant and Bar along Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring on the night of August 7, 2015. According to the police report, 21-year-old Robel Haileselassie stole iPhones belonging to the victim and the victim’s girlfriend during a bar fight.

The fight then spilled outside and the victim confronted Haileselassie trying to get one of the phones back. That is when Haileselassie pulled out a 4- to 5-inch knife and stabbed the man several times, including once in the kidney. Doctors said he likely would have died without immediate surgery.

On Thursday, a jury convicted him of first-degree assault, but they could not come to an agreement that there was intent to murder the victim even though several jurors believed that was the case.

“He pulled the knife out,” said juror Issa Kash. “You know, if you pull a knife, you’re not going to make a salad with that knife, especially if you are in the middle of a fight. You are going to some harm to someone.”

A woman who was outside saw the stabbing happen and the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office said while most of the other witnesses scattered, this woman called 911 and even trailed Haileselassie as he ran away to provide a description.

Plainclothes officers with Montgomery County police created a perimeter to contain Haileselassie while Officer Sean Pierce and the K-9 unit were called in to track down Haileselassie.

A cell phone was located first and then the suspect’s shirt was found and used as a scent to help find Haileselassie. According to Pierce, they likely would not have found him if it wasn’t for their tracking dogs.

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