2005-07-08 / Community

Three Charged In Brutal Slash And Stab Attack

By Brian Magoolaghan

Three men were arrested after a brutal July 4 stabbing incident in which a man was slashed and stabbed nearly 10 times, police said.

Melvin Soto, 23, Edwin Soto, 30, and Harold Whitmore, 28, are accused of assaulting and stabbing Joseph Dennis, 41, after an argument erupted outside 111-10 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, according to court records.

The altercation began at about 11:15 p.m. when Dennis confronted the three men after debris was dumped in his backyard, police said. The Sotos and Whitmore then allegedly entered Dennis’ yard to silence the man’s protests.

Melvin Soto flashed a large kitchen knife as the men approached Dennis, according to court records, and Edwin Soto and Whitmore allegedly went to work on Dennis using their fists.

Dennis tried to use a plastic lawn chair to fend off his attackers, but was unsuccessful, police said. He then tried to flee, but he tripped and fell to the ground. Melvin Soto then allegedly pounced on him with the kitchen knife, repeatedly slicing and stabbing him.

In a desperate attempt to get away from his alleged attackers, Dennis got back on his feet and went inside the home of an acquaintance at 111-06 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. But Melvin Soto chased after him and stabbed him in the hand, according to court records.

Dennis was slashed seven times to his body, legs and arm and was stabbed twice in his foot and hand, court records show.

The attack, which drew a heavy police response, is the latest incident to worry residents in an area where neighborhood sources say there has been a spike in quality of life issues – and at least two graffiti assaults on public and private property.

All three men were arrested at the scene. The Sotos, of 116-10 Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Whitmore, of 111-10 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, are each charged with three counts of burglary, second-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon, according to a spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. Their arraignment information was not immediately available.

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