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Friday, Aug 22, 2014

St. Pete man acquitted in stabbing outside bar

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Published:   |   Updated: April 24, 2014 at 09:15 PM

— A St. Petersburg tatoo artist has been acquitted of charges he tried to kill a patron outside the Octave Bar in downtown St. Petersburg two years ago by thrusting a spring-action knife into his chest.

A jury an Wednesday acquitted Williams Wasel, now 36, of two charges in the Sept. 26, 2012, attack — attempted second-degree murder and aggravated assault.

That night, Wasel and a woman got into an argument at the bar at 661 Central Ave. when a friend of the woman, James Langner, then 35, intervened, according to a police report. Some witnesses told police Wasel punched Langner, after which Langner punched him back three to four times, knocking him to the floor.

When Wasel got back up, he had a knife in his hand, the police report states.

Joshua Shaw, then 27, a bar employee, used a bar stool to push Wasel out the door, witnesses told police. Once outside, Wasel stabbed Langner.

Wasel’s defense attorney, Kelly McCabe, put him on the stand Wednesday to bolster a self-defense scenario.

“After receiving the blows that I received ... I was in fear for my life and I wanted to get out of there,” he testified.

McCabe also tried to make a separate “stand your ground” argument outside of the jury’s earshot, but Circuit Judge Philip Federico rejected it.

sthompson@tampatrib. (727) 215-6504.

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