Stabbing arose from drug deal, court hears

The Baltimore Sun

The stabbing of a Howard County 17-year-old by two teens outside The Mall in Columbia in January was the culmination of a drug deal gone bad, an investigator said yesterday.

New details of the incident emerged at a hearing in Howard County Circuit Court, during which a judge denied a request that the 16-year-old defendant be tried as a juvenile.

Cordero Dante Taylor was charged as an adult in the Jan. 10 stabbing of Julian Lichtenstein, who was 17 at the time of the incident. Taylor, of Forestville in Prince George's County, and the other suspect, Bernardo Leconte, 18, of Columbia, were charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, carrying a concealed weapon and reckless endangerment.

The lead investigator in the case, Detective Joseph King, testified about the details of the incident.

Lichtenstein had arranged to sell marijuana to Taylor and Leconte in the parking lot outside the JCPenney store at the mall, King said. After a quarrel over the quality of the drugs, Leconte put them in his pocket, he said. Lichtenstein told the detective that after he objected to Leconte taking the drugs without paying for them, Leconte pulled out a pocket knife.

Lichtenstein said he then took a swing at Leconte, who retaliated by stabbing him several times, King said. Leconte and Taylor fled the scene. Lichtenstein was flown by helicopter to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he underwent surgery.

Minutes after the stabbing, police arrested Leconte near a footbridge off U.S. 29. They arrested Taylor in the stairwell of an apartment building, where they found Lichtenstein's wallet, along with a wad of cash and more drugs, King said, which Lichtenstein said belonged to him.

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