Columbia teen pleads guilty to fatal stabbing in Long Reach

A Columbia teenager charged with fatally stabbing another Columbia teenager in Long Reach in 2011 pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Howard County Circuit Court on Monday.

Xavier Trevon Bates, 19, admitted to fatally stabbing 17-year-old Christian Lendel Hall, of Columbia, in Hall's home in the Sierra Woods apartment complex near the Long Reach Village Center last July.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors withdrew their request for a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Instead, the prosecution is recommending a sentence of life in prison with all but 60 years suspended, meaning Bates would serve 60 years in prison.

If the prosecution's recommendation is accepted by Howard County Circuit Court Judge Richard Bernhardt, Bates will not be eligible for parole until 2042.

Bates' sentencing hearing is tentatively set for Dec. 14.

On July 27, 2011 at about 10 p.m., police responded to a reported stabbing at the Sierra Woods apartment complex, located in the 8700 block of Airybrink Lane, where they found Hall covered in blood on the third floor of an apartment building.

Hall was stabbed at least 10 times, according to a statement of facts entered into the court record in the case, including a two-and-a-half inch stab wound to the heart. He was taken to Howard County General Hospital where he was pronounced dead less than an hour later.

Officers found Bates at the hospital, being treated for a stab wound in his hand, and arrested him.

During a police interview, Bates admitted to stabbing Hall, according to the statement of facts.

The two teenagers, who were friends but had a falling out, had been in an argument earlier that day, a police investigation determined. Bates went to Hall's residence to continue the fight that night.

According to the statement of facts, Bates stole a steak knife from a local Safeway and chased Hall from the entry to the apartment complex into his home. Once inside, Bates and Hall fought, while Hall's girlfriend and mother tried to break up the altercation.

According to police interviews and testimony read by the prosecution, Bates made multiple threats on Hall in the hours leading up to the incident.

On Aug. 17, Judge Bernhardt rejected Bates' attorney's arguments that Bates had a severe mental disorder and ruled he was competent to stand trial in the slaying.

Hall's mother and family members declined to comment on the plea.

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