Man jailed in Austintown motel stabbing

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Baltimore man is at the Mahoning County Jail on a charge of felonious assault after he allegedly stabbed a New Castle man at an Austintown motel Tuesday evening.

Jermaine Garrett, 37, is being held on $50,000 bond following his arraignment Wednesday in Austintown Area Court. He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on July 16.

According to a police report, Garrett and Joseph Smock, 44, of New Castle, got into a heated verbal argument over the theft of a bottle of shampoo at the Westgate Motel on Mahoning Avenue.

Austintown police were called just after 9 p.m. by Smock, who told officers a friend was taking him to St. Elizabeth’s emergency room in Austintown because he had been stabbed twice in the back by a man he did not know.

Officers went to the motel and located a man, later identified as Garrett, who told officers he was the one involved in the stabbing, according to a police report. He told officers the knife he used was in his pocket, at which time he was placed into a cruiser.

A witness said he was sitting outside Room 15 with Smock and another man cooking food when Garrett approached them and asked them about a bottle of shampoo that went missing off his girlfriend’s vehicle. The witness said an argument ensued and Garrett and Smock began throwing punches at each other, the report states.

The witness said the fight stopped after Garrett stabbed Smock in the back. He told officers Garrett then began pointing the knife at everyone who was there and threatened them, the report states.

The witness said Smock’s friend went back into his motel room and grabbed a filet knife, after which he said Garrett threatened to get a gun.

While being transported to the police station, Garrett told officers his version of what happened, which police said matched what the witnesses said except Garrett said Smock attacked him first and tried to strangle him, the police report states.

Garrett admitted to officers that he stabbed Smock with a pocketknife he uses for work, but he did it in self-defense after Smock attacked him. He also told officers the motel has security cameras in the area where the altercation occurred.

Officers reviewed the motel’s security footage, which shows a verbal altercation taking place between Garrett, Smock and Smock’s friend. The video shows the argument escalating when Smock lunged toward Garrett’s face. The camera view is blocked by a parked vehicle, so the next thing the footage shows is Garrett exiting toward the rear of a parked vehicle and Smock going toward the front of another vehicle holding his left side and lifting up his shirt, the police report states.

The officer was unable to download the video footage, but asked the Westgate Motel manager to save it.

According to the police report, Smock suffered a critical injury and possible internal injury to his left upper back.

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