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Man cleared in knifing at motorcycle club

A judge Monday cleared a Cheektowaga man of charges that he stabbed a man in the back last year during a fight outside the Kingsmen motorcycle clubhouse.

Stephen M. Murrett, 24, who had been facing a mandatory state prison term of two to seven years for an assault conviction, began crying as State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia announced his verdict.

Buscaglia declined to comment after handing down the acquittal, which followed a three-day nonjury trial. But defense lawyer Thomas J. Eoannou cited the factual inconsistencies in the claims of the one eyewitness who insisted that Murrett stabbed Rodney Turner in the back as they got into a loud argument outside the Peoria Street clubhouse.

Murrett, who came to court with many family members, declined to comment after the verdict.

Murrett had been free on bail since a week after the incident May 9, 2009, in which Turner was stabbed in the back eight times.

Eoannou, who did not let Murrett testify, presented the judge eyewitness testimony that Murrett had been knocked to the ground by a Turner punch just before Turner was stabbed eight times by someone else still standing.

Turner, 22, who admitted getting into an argument with Murrett as he walked with a friend outside the clubhouse, testified as the trial began that he did not see who stabbed him. Turner was taken to Erie County Medical Center after the fight, was treated and released.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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