‘Knife war’ led to fatal stabbing at Bangor apartments in April, witness says

Akeem Harris (left) stands with his attorney Jeffrey Silverstein during his arraignment at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Friday. Harris is currently being held without bail on charges related to the April 9, 2013, stabbing death of Thomas N. Taylor of Bangor.
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Akeem Harris (left) stands with his attorney Jeffrey Silverstein during his arraignment at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Friday. Harris is currently being held without bail on charges related to the April 9, 2013, stabbing death of Thomas N. Taylor of Bangor.
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted May 23, 2013, at 7:38 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The man accused of fatally stabbing Thomas N. Taylor wasn’t the only person with a knife in the parking lot of Birch Circle apartments April 9, according to a court affidavit that was made public Thursday.

Akeem T. Harris, 23, of Amityville, N.Y., pleaded not guilty April 26 to intentional or knowing murder at the Penobscot Judicial Center in connection with Taylor’s death.

Taylor, 30, of Bangor died of a single stab wound to the back at Eastern Maine Medical Center a short time after he was stabbed about 6 p.m., the affidavit said.

One witness told police that both Harris and Taylor approached each other with knives, according to the affidavit.

“She said that they stabbed back and forth but neither appeared to be getting stabbed,” the affidavit said. “She called it a ‘knife war.’ [The witness] told me that Taylor dropped his knife and when that happened he picked up a child’s toy (trike or scooter) and held it up to protect himself. She said that Taylor threw the toy at Akeem. She added that Akeem then threw the toy at Taylor. She told us that Akeem was cut on the arm and Akeem stabbed Taylor in the back.”

The affidavit said that “knive(s) were found on the ground near the victim.”

Harris is a friend of the victim’s former neighbor who had previously had confrontations with Taylor, the affidavit said.

The affidavit does not give details about what led to the ongoing dispute between the former neighbors but said that Harris did not appear to be part of it.

Harris, who was a student at Eastern Maine Community College until the incident, is being held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail. He was indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury April 24.

A trial date has not been set.

Jeffrey Silverstein, Harris’ defense attorney, has said his client acted in self-defense.

Police located Harris about 10:15 p.m. the night of the stabbing. He allegedly told them that his friend came to the college and told him that Taylor pulled a knife on her outside a local restaurant. The woman allegedly asked Harris to go with her and another woman to her former apartment “to protect her from this person as well as get some things from her apartment.”

Harris told investigators that once inside the apartment he heard one of the women call for him.

“He said he grabbed a kitchen knife from the sink of [his friend’s] apartment and went outside,” the affidavit said. “Akeem said that he observed Taylor coming toward him and said that Taylor had a knife.”

Harris told police that at some point he dropped his own knife but was able to take Taylor’s knife away from him.

Later that evening, Harris turned a knife that had red-brown stains on it over to police.

If convicted of murder, Harris faces between 25 years and life in prison.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/05/23/news/bangor/knife-war-led-to-fatal-stabbing-at-bangor-apartments-in-april-witness-says/ printed on July 29, 2014