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Man sentenced for stabbing kin


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Man sentenced for stabbing kin

Fight erupted over mashed potatoes

MACHIAS - A 31-year-old Indian Township man who stabbed his brother in the abdomen in a fight over mashed potatoes was sentenced Thursday in Washington County Superior Court for reckless conduct.

Ryan Gabriel was sentenced to two years with all but 90 days suspended and placed on two years' probation. He will serve the time in Washington County Jail.

On Nov. 22, 2003, Gabriel and his brother Nakoma Gabriel were at the home of their mother, Lorraine Ritter, when the two, who were drunk, got into a scuffle.

Nakoma Gabriel was stabbed in the abdomen with a 4-inch steak knife, First District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh said.

When emergency personnel arrived, Ritter was holding a towel to her son's stomach.

Ryan Gabriel told police that his brother was mad at him because he ate more of the mashed potatoes. He said his brother came at him and he stabbed him with the knife. He then hid the knife.

Ritter at first told police that she did not hear or see anything.

Cavanaugh said she later changed her story and said that when the two began to fight, she went into her bedroom.

Cavanaugh then presented Judge Joseph Jabar with a statement from Nakoma Gabriel, who said his brother had stabbed him in the stomach "without any thought or feeling."

In the statement, Nakoma Gabriel said that after his brother had stabbed him, he sat down to watch television.

"I am the one who picked myself off the floor bleeding profusely from the wound and went to call the ambulance; not him. I went to my mother's bedroom, opened the door and ended up falling to the floor," he said in his statement. "I had lost a lot of blood by then. I don't remember the ambulance ride, and hardly remember being in the hospital in Calais. I don't even remember the helicopter ride; only when the sharp pain was getting to me."

Nakoma Gabriel said that at one time he looked up to his brother. "Now, I don't even like to look at him. Why? Because he tore apart a family that can never be the same again," he said.

Nakoma Gabriel said that when he returned to the reservation, he did not receive any support from his family, only from his friends.

Ryan Gabriel's attorney, John Churchill of Calais, said that although his client agreed to enter a plea, he did not agree with the basic facts of the case.


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