A Cortland man was sent to jail Friday following his arraignment on felony charges in a stabbing Thursday evening in downtown Cortland that sent two people to hospitals.
Matthew Sky Hewitt, 27, of 56 1/2 Groton Ave., was charged with first-degree assault, second- degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, felonies, accused of using a butterfly-style knife to stab a 23-year-old man several times in the chest, abdomen, side and buttocks.
He appeared in Cortland City Court, where Judge Lawrence Knickerbocker said he could not set bail in the matter because Hewitt had two prior felony convictions. The court didn’t say what those felonies were, but other records show that Hewitt was convicted in 2009 of first-degree sexual abuse with a 9-year-old victim.
“I have no authority to set bail,” Knickerbocker said.
Police said they were flagged down by a pedestrian about 10 p.m. Thursday near 99 Main St. to respond to the stabbing of Jonathan Jeffrey, 23 and Jake Garrett, 24.
Jeffrey told police in a statement that he, his girlfriend Betty Ann Rogers, Roger’s 18-year- old daughter Kayt Felko, Linda Moore and Hewitt were all hanging out around 8:30 p.m. at a house on South Avenue when Hewitt and Felko said they would walk Moore home. Jeffrey said he knew Hewitt, who is a friend of his brother.
Jeffrey said he was going through the phone he and Felko were both using and came across messages that Hewitt had sent to Felko asking for photos of her breast. Jeffrey said he knew Hewitt was a sex offender and that he “would never let Kayt date a guy like that.”
Jeffrey said he called Moore and found out that they were on Main Street and went to meet them. Jeffrey said he confronted Hewitt and that Hewitt “started flipping out and got in my face.”
Jeffrey said he pushed Hewitt away but then blacked out. “I do that sometimes when I’m upset,” he said.
He said he doesn’t remember anything until Jake Garrett, a Marine Corps sergeant working at the Armed Forces Career Center broke them up and told him he had been stabbed.
“I have like six stab wounds, two or three on my left lower chest and side, two on my back and one on my butt,” Jeffrey said.
Garrett told police that there were multiple fights outside the recruiting center — one between Hewitt and Jeffrey and another between Rogers and Felko.
Garrett said he intervened when Hewitt and Jeffrey started arguing, but the two men were maneuvering around him fighting.
“They wound up on the ground fighting,” he said.
He said Hewitt took off running and Jeffrey tried to chase after him and that is when he noticed Jeffrey had been stabbed and proceeded to help him. It wasn’t until the ambulance arrive that Garrett noticed he had been stabbed, too, on his right leg.
Jeffrey said Hewitt showed him a silver butterfly knife earlier in the day.
In a statement to police, Rogers said she heard Jeffrey yell, “I got stabbed” and that she never saw Hewitt pull the knife, but did know he had a butterfly knife.
Linda Moore told police that she saw Hewitt stab Jeffrey.
“Matt then grabbed the knife from under his shirt and stabbed John around five or 10 times in the chest and arms,” she said. Moore later identified Hewitt to police.
Daniel Moore II, a Cortland Silver Star taxi driver who was driving by, also told police he saw a white man with a black sweatshirt with a silver-colored blade, about 3 to 4 inches long stab Jeffrey in the left side of his abdomen, but that he only saw him get stabbed once.
Witnesses said Hewitt fled along Main Street. Police found and arrested him around 11 a.m. Friday in a vacant house on Medes Place.
Hewitt is due to appear Wednesday in Cortland City Court for both the stabbing charges and because he missed his sentencing in another case on Wednesday. Hewitt had bail set at $500 bail or $1,000 bond in that case. The judge also issued an order of protection for the victims.
Marine recruiter praised
Cortland police are calling heroic the action of a U.S. Marine on Thursday to stop a knife attack in downtown Cortland.
Sgt. Jake Garrett a recruiter at the Armed Forces Career Center on Main Street, was finishing up work about 10 p.m. Thursday when he heard a commotion. He stepped outside as yelling turned into an altercation, said Marine Capt. Maria C. Arnone in a news release Friday.
“As soon as I saw the fighting, my instincts just kicked in and I went right over to stop it,” Garrett said.
Matthew Sky Hewitt, 27, of 56 1/2 Groton Ave., Cortland, was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault and third- degree criminal possession of a weapon, felonies, accused of using a butterfly-style knife to stab a 23-year-old man several times.
Garrett pulled the wounded man away, as the other man fled. He was cut, too.
“I didn’t even realize there had been a knife involved until I looked around and saw blood everywhere,” Garrett said.
Garrett performed first aid, covering the cuts and applying pressure. Shortly after, the first Cortland police officer arrived followed by an ambulance.
“Sgt. Garrett’s initiative to intervene in that situation is a heroic act that most people wouldn’t do, and the first aid measures he took were instrumental in getting the other man to the next level of care alive,” said Cortland police Lt. David Guerrera.
Garrett was taken to Guthrie Cortland Medical Center, treated and released.