Man who stabbed brother is sentenced

September 28, 1994|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,Sun Staff Writer

For David Lee Washington and his three brothers, just about everything is tolerated in the name of a good old-fashioned family celebration -- from impromptu brawls in the living room, shoving matches over money in the front yard to rounds of drinking 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor.

But asking to change the channel on the television is tantamount to treason, and last month one of the brothers wound up with a steak knife in his chest for doing it.

David Lee Washington, 39, apparently forgot that rule on Aug. 7, when the four brothers gathered to celebrate Dennis Washington's pending move to Virginia.

Luke Duncan, oldest of the brothers, stabbed David Washington in the chest in the back yard of their mother's townhouse in the first block of Greenbury Court in Woodlawn.

Yesterday, a Towson District Court judge sentenced Duncan, 44, of Baltimore, to three years each on a battery and a deadly weapon charge. But he suspended the sentence, partly because the victim asked the judge to show leniency.

"We were drinking that day, and it was something that just happened," Mr. Washington said, shrugging.

Duncan, who is unemployed, originally had been charged with attempted murder and assault, but those charges were dropped.

On the day Mr. Washington wanted to watch another television show, he and Duncan had fought in the front yard and in the back yard about 15 minutes apart, said Johnny Brunson, a next door neighbor and witness to the stabbing.

The first time it was over $40 Duncan allegedly owed Mr. Washington. The second time they argued over beer. The third argument was over television.

"I don't even remember what I wanted to watch on TV," Mr. Washington said after sentencing. "I just know I wanted to watch something else."

Mr. Washington ran outside when Duncan got angry over the television request. They wound up in the back of the townhouse.

"I saw [Duncan] had something shiny in his hand and [Mr. Washington] had his hands up in the air," said Mr. Brunson, who watched the case in court yesterday but wasn't called to testify after both sides agreed to a statement of facts. "When he stabbed him and the other guy looked stunned, like he couldn't believe it."

Mr. Washington then ran into the woods and Duncan got a brick and went after him, Mr. Brunson said. Jerry Duncan, another brother, held the two apart until police came. Mr. Washington was taken to the hospital.

"I'm sorry for hurting my brother," Duncan told the judge. "I wasn't thinking about what I was doing."

Mr. Washington, a house painter, said he has forgiven his brother.

"We're all right now," he said. "I don't have bad feelings. We're family."

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