Man involved in Vineyard Haven stabbing arraigned in court

Man involved in Vineyard Haven stabbing arraigned in court

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State and Island police gathered at the scene of a stabbing Tuesday, on Spring Street in Tisbury. Sergeant Jeff Stone of the State Police, in shorts, speaks to a bystander. — Photo by Nelson Sigelman

One Island man was in jail; another was fighting for his life in a Boston hospital yesterday, after he was stabbed on Spring Street in Tisbury Tuesday, at about 6 pm, a block west of Tisbury town hall.

Ovando Eghill, 32, of Assinnashmayak Road in Aquinnah was arraigned Wednesday morning in Edgartown District Court on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, following his arrest by Tisbury Police. He was held in the Dukes County Jail on $50,000 bail.

Michael Trusty, 45, of 45 School House Road in Edgartown, was transported from Martha’s Vineyard Hospital to Beth Israel Hospital in Boston by MedFlight Tuesday night. He remained in serious condition Wednesday, with a stab wound to the chest.

Late Tuesday, Tisbury, State and Edgartown Police cooperated to respond to 97 Spring Street, following a report of a stabbing. The caller to 9-1-1, identified in the police report as Kelly Eghill, said, “Someone is dying here.”

When the first Tisbury police officers arrived, Mr. Trusty was lying on the ground face up, blood on his shirt and pants. He was unresponsive.

Police quickly issued a call to locate Ovando Eghill. A short time later, Kelly Eghill told State Police Sergeant Jeff Stone that her husband was on his way to the Tisbury Police station.

Coincidence with consequences

Mr. Eghill and his wife had arrived at the house of a family friend, Stacy Costas, according to the report. Ms. Costas was watching the couple’s two children. Ms. Eghill’s ex-husband, Mr. Trusty, was also there to pick up the child they shared.

Tisbury Police Detective Mark Santon said it was just coincidence, but a volatile one, that both men arrived at the house at the same time.

No words were exchanged in the house Tuesday night, but when both men left, an argument ensued. According to police, Mr. Eghill told them that, “he began having a heated conversation with Trusty regarding Trusty being verbally abusive to Kelly Eghill.”

Mr. Eghill told police that Mr. Trusty went to his truck parked on the street and retrieved a machete from inside the cab. A witness, who told police he knows both men and was driving by at the time, said he saw Mr. Trusty holding a machete over his head, and it appeared he was attempting to strike Mr. Eghill.

He saw Mr. Eghill holding a work knife. The witness said he saw Mr. Eghill “push Trusty away with both his empty hand and his hand containing the knife.”

Mr. Eghill later told police he used his left forearm “to block Trusty’s machete strike.”

After he stabbed Mr. Trusty, the police report said, Mr. Eghill went to the house of a friend in West Tisbury, but the friend was not home. He then telephoned his wife to say he had been in a fight. He also called a woman who lives in either South Carolina or Georgia and is the mother of one of his children to say he had been in a fight with Michael Trusty. He then drove to the police station.

Members of the State Police Crime Scene Service arrived later that night to examine the scene of the fight and both vehicles.

Deadly thrust

Mr. Trusty is a painter. In July of 2006, Mr. Trusty was arraigned in Edgartown District Court on two charges of aggravated rape and a charge of indecent assault and battery. In September 2006, the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the two rape charges. The assault charge was continued without a finding for two years, on the condition that Mr. Trusty have no contact with the victim.

Mr. Eghill works for a construction company. Both men are Jamaican nationals with legal residency, according to police.

In court Wednesday, assistant district attorney Laura Marshard described the victim’s condition to Judge Lance Garth.

“The defendant stabbed the victim with a work knife in the heart,” she said. “His condition is critical, his survival questionable.”

Ms. Marshard requested $50,000 bail and asked that Mr. Eghill be required to surrender his passport and green card and be fitted with a GPS monitor should he post bail.

Lawyer Charles Morano represented Mr. Eghill for the purpose of his bail hearing. He described to the court Mr. Eghill’s close ties to the Island.

He said Mr. Eghill is a resident of Aquinnah, has children here, and has been employed by Flanders Construction for four years.

“It’s apparent that he has a valid and very strong self-defense argument,” Mr. Morano said. “An eyewitness saw the victim holding a machete over his (defendant’s) head. He actually went to the Tisbury Police Station to surrender himself.”

In the courtroom were Mr. Eghill’s father-in-law, Byram Devine, and his wife, who sat sobbing during the arraignment.

Mr. Morano asked that bail be set at $10,000. “He has absolutely no record,” he told the court.

Judge Garth agreed to the prosecutor’s request. Because no GPS unit would be available until Thursday, Mr. Eghill was ordered to jail.

He is scheduled to return to court Monday for a pre-trial hearing.

Correction

An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the address for Mr. Trusty as Pennywise Path in Edgartown. It is School House Road.