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Durham man pleads guilty to bathroom stabbing at manufacturing site

Al Atwater, on left, in Durham County Superior Court before he was sentenced Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2018 for stabbing a man at LC Industries in September 2017.
Al Atwater, on left, in Durham County Superior Court before he was sentenced Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2018 for stabbing a man at LC Industries in September 2017. Virginia Bridges

A Durham man will spend 90 days in jail after he was convicted of stabbing a man during a confrontation in a bathroom at a manufacturing facility that seeks to employ people who are blind.

Al Juwan Atwater, 40, pleaded guilty Tuesday to assault with intent to inflict serious bodily injury. He faced a maximum punishment of up to 60 months, but received a lighter sentence under a plea deal.

Under the deal, Superior Court Judge Carolyn Thompson sentenced Atwater to up to 38 months in state prison, but suspended the active time for 24 months of probation. Atwater will serve 90 days in the Durham County jail. He will also have to pay restitution.

Atwater was charged with the crime in September 2017 following a stabbing that occurred at LC Industries, according to a Durham police spokesperson.

LC Industries’ mission is centered on employing people who are blind.

Durham police were called to the nonprofit manufacturer off Emperor Boulevard near South Miami Boulevard around 7:30 a.m., according to police. When they arrived, they found an injured man who had suffered multiple stab wounds in his stomach. The man was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, according to police.

Assistant District Attorney Josephine Kerr Davis said the evidence would show that Atwater told police officers that he stabbed him with a black pocket knife “because he was choking me.”

Officers were able to determine that Atwater was mopping the floor and a man kept walking over the floor “creating a mess,” Davis said.

Atwater and the man started to argue, Davis said. They stepped into the bathroom, where a fight ensued and Atwater stabbed the man.

Atwater’s attorney Randy Griffin said his client walked away from the man a few times before they went into the bathroom.

“Mr. Atwater says that he was getting the worst of it and was just trying to get him off of him,” Griffin said. “However, he wanted to put this behind him.”

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges
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