LEWISTON — A city man charged in a Tuesday night stabbing appeared in court Wednesday where his attorney said he acted in self-defense.
Mahad Hassan, 25, of 214 Blake St. was charged with elevated aggravated assault, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
The victim, Abdi Bihi, 33, a transient, was taken to Central Maine Medical Center with nonlife-threatening injuries, Lt. Michael McGonagle said.
Bihi was reportedly stabbed in the face and neck area as well as in the arm and back with a broken bottle, McGonagle said.
A hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday morning that Bihi was listed in fair condition.
Judge Nancy Carlson of 8th District Court lowered Hassan's bail from $25,000 to $5,000 cash. He was being held at Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn. He is to have no contact with Bihi.
The stabbing occurred Tuesday at about 10 p.m. at 214 Blake St.
The two men apparently knew each other.
Defense Attorney James Howaniec said Hassan, a Somali citizen, told him he has lived in Maine four years and lives with his girlfriend. He has a 3½-year-old child. He gets unemployment benefits, but has no cash nor real estate assets, Howaniec said.
Hassan "strongly asserts he was acting in self-defense in this matter" in his own apartment, Howaniec said. Hassan said Bihi was coming after him in a threatening manner, Howaniec said.
Carlson said the police affidavit filed in support of an arrest warrant appears to contradict Hassan's claim of self-defense.
According to the affidavit, Hassan told police that Bihi had damaged his TV and attacked Hassan with a large knife after he ordered Bihi to leave the apartment.
Police later searched Hassan's apartment and concluded that Hassan had attacked Bihi in the apartment's doorway, where evidence of broken glass and blood were found. A knife, similar to the one described by Hassan as being in the possession of Bihi, was found in a kitchen drawer, clean and under a pile of other kitchen implements.
Blood was found inside and outside Hassan's van, which was impounded and searched.
The victim has a lengthy record of alcohol-related disorderly convictions and prosecutors may have difficulty proving the case against Hassan, Howaniec said.
Bihi was arrested Sunday at 248 Main St. and charged with theft by unauthorized taking or transfer.
Hassan is scheduled to appear Jan. 2 in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn for arraignment.
Blake and Birch streets were cordoned off around 10:35 p.m. Tuesday. Officers also taped off 120 Blake St., concentrating their search for evidence. Several officers were on scene.
Officers reportedly found a trail of blood at the crime scene a short distance up Blake Street from its intersection with Birch.