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Prince’s initial court appearance continued

September 1, 2011


On Monday, the initial appearance of a Mississippi State University student arrested Saturday for allegedly stabbing another student was continued to Thursday.
William Daniel Prince, 25, of 109 Locksley Way, Polo’s Apartments, Starkville, made his first appearance in court, but his attorney moved for his initial proceedings — including a possible reduction of bond — be continued because he and his client had not had sufficient time to discuss the case. Prince will appear before a judge Thursday at 2 p.m.
Prince’s bond had previously been set at $500,000.
Starkville police officers arrested Prince Saturday and charged him with aggravated assault after allegedly stabbing Joseph Ryan Davis, 21, of Ocean Springs, outside of Rock Bottom Bar and Grill late Friday.
Bart Lucius, Rock Bottom manager, said three customers — including Prince — were removed from the bar at approximately 11:45 p.m.
“I had that awkward feeling something could happen,” Lucius said. “We try to make sure if there’s a chance anything happens, we look after our customers.”
Lucius said the three individuals walked to the street from the bar, turned around and confronted a security guard. Seeing the three-on-one situation, Lucius said Davis jumped from the front of the bar down to the sidewalk area to help the security guard. Punches were thrown by both Davis and Prince, he said.
In Lucius’ statement to law enforcement, he said Prince “pulled out a knife and began stabbing Joey in the abdomen.”
Lucius said he could not describe the knife used in the stabbing, but said witnesses described it as a larger knife that “definitely wasn’t a pocket knife.”
SPD Chief David Lindley said the weapon had not been recovered as of Monday afternoon.
“All we know for sure is that it was a knife. We’ve made extensive searches trying to locate the weapon from the path he walked and even in dumpsters,” Lindley said. “In a crowd like that, so many people have different perspectives. Five people could see the incident and give you different accounts.”
After the stabbing, Davis was moved to Rock Bottom’s back deck and treated by customers with medical backgrounds until first responders arrived.
“Joey’s a fun-loving guy who loves to joke around and be funny,” Lucius said. “Even after the incident, he was making jokes trying to keep others calm. He had that calm sense. I think ultimately he knew he was going to be fine. His actions were very heroic. He didn’t have to get involved; he was looking after the security of the guard and everyone else.”
Following the incident, Prince fled the scene and was arrested approximately two hours later. Lindley said it is unknown if Prince received a ride after the incident.
“We know he was on foot for a good bit of time,” Lindley said.
Davis was transported to Baptist Regional Medical Center in Columbus for surgery following the incident. Lucius said he spoke with Davis following surgery and throughout the weekend. He was in good spirits, Lucius said.
“He was already joking,” Lucius said. “We have a very close group of friends. It’s almost like the size of the bar makes everyone close.”
Rock Bottom closed for business following the incident to ensure customers’ safety and allow for a police investigation, Lucius said. The bar reopened the following night with an extra security guard.
“(The incident) seems completely beyond reason. Negative things happen at businesses all of the time, but we have never had anything of this magnitude,” Lucius said. “At this point, my concern isn’t for the business — it’s for my friend and his recovery. I think people realize safety is always our main concern. “

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