Police locate stabbing victim

48-year-old suspect arraigned on multiple charges of assault

Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2002

A man who suffered more than 20 stab wounds Friday but who checked himself out of a hospital before police were able to interview him thoroughly was located by officers today.

Barry Richards, 38, sustained the stab wounds and a skull fracture when an acquaintance allegedly stabbed him and hit him in the head Friday night at Harris Harbor. Police arrested George Shavers, 48, who was arraigned Tuesday in Juneau District Court on charges of felony assault with a dangerous weapon, another lesser felony assault charge and felony tampering with evidence.

Police added the tampering charge because Shavers allegedly threw bloody rags and an assault weapon into the harbor, according to District Judge Peter Froehlich.

The weapons used in the assault have not been recovered, police said.

Capt. Tom Porter said Richards, who is a transient, is being cooperative, but is having trouble remembering Friday's incident.

"There are gaps in what he remembers," said Porter. "It makes for not as strong of a case. But his injuries support his version of what happened and though his information isn't complete in terms of detail, he does have information as to what took place that night."

Porter said it is not uncommon for victims to be hesitant to cooperate with police. He said victims, like witnesses, sometimes don't want to get involved or are afraid of confronting their attacker again.

Shavers is being held on $500,000 bail at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

Assistant District Attorney David Brower said Shavers has a criminal record beginning in 1972 in Oklahoma. His past crimes include larceny, auto theft, escape, and two assaults in Juneau. Shavers' most recent offense, in 2000, was alleged by his then-girlfriend who claimed he put a knife to her face and threatened her by saying "he had stabbed several people in the past," according to a statement by District Attorney Rick Svobodny.

Though Richards suffered five serious stab wounds, 17 superficial stab wounds and a 4-inch-long concave gash in his head, Sgt. John Boltjes said police couldn't support an attempted murder charge.

"If the (stab) wounds are less than a quarter-inch deep," said Boltjes, "we can't prove he was trying to kill him, even through there were 22 of them (wounds)."

If convicted on all charges, Shavers could get up to 30 years in prison.

Melanie Plenda can be reached at mplenda@juneauempire.com.

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