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Morgan State stabbing suspect claims self-defense, gets bail

The Morgan State University student charged with critically wounding another student during a fight could be released on bail, after his attorney argued that he has a "significant" self-defense claim.

Baltimore District Judge Nathan Braverman set a $500,000 bail on Thursday for Carlos Mars, a 19-year-old Morgan student who is facing attempted-first-degree murder and other charges for his role in a campus fight Tuesday afternoon.

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A District Court commissioner had initially ordered Mars held without bail.

Rebecca Cosca, a Silver Spring-based attorney, told Braverman that Mars was part of a "big brawl" involving several people. "This was a situation where he was trying to protect himself and his friends," she said.

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Mars cooperated with police, telling his version of the events. Cosca said at least one of Mars' friends, who attended the court hearing, had also been cut during the fracas, but not by Mars.

"I'm not sure why no one else has been charged," Cosca said after the hearing.

Police did not respond to questions late Thursday.

Assistant State's Attorney David Chiu said that Mars was observed stabbing someone multiple times and that he had no legal claim to self-defense.

Cosca asked for $100,000 bail. Braverman set it at $500,000, ordering that Mars not return to Morgan State if released and imposing a curfew from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Supporters of Mars, a District Heights resident, filled three rows of the courtroom, some of them wearing school gear.

Cosca said Mars had never been in trouble with the law before as a juvenile or adult and planned to withdraw from the university and move back home if released from jail. His mother does not believe he is safe there, Cosca said.

Police initially said three people were stabbed, and school officials identified them as university football players. Officials later said two were stabbed and one was hurt by other means.

School officials also said that the most seriously injured student was a former player who is not on the team this year, and the other stabbing victim was a walk-on player who is trying out for the team this spring.

The most seriously injured student was listed in guarded condition Wednesday night, a Morgan State spokesman said. Chiu told Braverman that the case "may turn into a homicide," but Cosca said the victim's condition had reportedly stabilized.

Morgan State football players continued with spring drills and scrimmages Thursday morning at Hughes Memorial Stadium. While the rest of campus remained dark and silent, the players ran various drills under the bright field lights during the more than two-hour practice.

Several players said they were told not to talk to the news media as they streamed back to the nearby field house after the practice.

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Head coach Lee Hull said Thursday that the incident "is only making us stronger. It's bringing us together as a team and as a family."

Hull said the walk-on player who was one of the victims was released the day of the incident after getting six stitches. He attended Thursday's practice but did not participate.

"We talk about making the correct choices every single day. All we can do is educate our guys on making the right choices. If you look at my tenure here, we have not had one incident come across the campus police desk," Hull said. "Our guys have changed their lives around, they've been upstanding citizens in the community and in the Morgan State community. So we're on the right track when it comes to that."

Baltimore Sun reporters Jessica Anderson and Edward Lee contributed to this article.

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