Whitebird pleads not guilty in stabbing incident
A July trial date has been set for a Horton resident charged with aggravated battery in connection with a November stabbing incident in Holton.
Austin Whitebird, 22, will face a three-day trial beginning Tuesday, July 5 in district court, Judge Norbert Marek said following an arraignment hearing on Friday in which Whitebird pleaded not guilty to the aggravated battery charge. Whitebird remains at the Jackson County Detention Center on $50,000 bond.
The charge against Whitebird stemmed from a Nov. 23 incident in which he reportedly stabbed 26-year-old Travis Hawkins, who was reportedly in a relationship with Whitebird’s sister at the time. The incident left Hawkins with life-threatening injuries, but Hawkins had recovered to testify about the incident during a preliminary hearing in January.
During that hearing, Whitebird’s sister, Larissa, testified that she was awakened on Nov. 23 by an alleged argument between her brother and Hawkins that had escalated into an incident of “pushing, shoving and spitting.” She said that after Austin Whitebird had thrown a bottle that hit Hawkins’ upper back, Hawkins fell to the floor while Austin continued to punch him.
Larissa said she and one of her sisters attempted to separate the two of them when she noticed that Hawkins was bleeding from “holes” in his back, and they took Hawkins to Holton Community Hospital. Hawkins was later transported to a Topeka hospital, where he was in critical condition with injuries that were considered life-threatening at the time.
During his testimony, Hawkins said he woke up after the incident with staples in his back and neck and could not remember how they got there. Hawkins has recovered from the incident, although Jackson County Attorney Shawna Miller noted that Hawkins still had some scarring and pain issues as a result of the incident.
It had been reported that after the incident, Austin Whitebird had fled the scene and was considered armed and dangerous by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. Whitebird, who is currently being represented by Hiawatha attorney Andrew Delaney, was captured south of Holton the day after the incident and taken to jail.
On Friday, Marek also set a pre-trial motion hearing for June 24, with motions to be filed for that hearing by June 10. Delaney and Jackson County Attorney Shawna Miller were also asked to have a set of jury instructions submitted by June 23.