Mom of Vernon Stabbing Victim Says There Was an Ongoing Dispute

The mother of a 17-year-old Rockville High School student who was assaulted in Vernon Friday night said her son was walking home on the Rails to Trails from a football game when he was stabbed 10 times and left bleeding.

Carly-Ann Merrill said her son has been involved in an ongoing dispute with another group of teens since May and there was fighting. On Friday night, the 17-year-old was stabbed in the torso, legs and head.

“They left him bleeding, beaten, severely stabbed 10 times,” she said. “I wouldn’t wish that on anybody else ever. I don’t care what somebody did or didn’t do. They don’t deserve that.”

She said she tried to get the school district and police to intervene.

"We do believe there are two groups involved that were fighting. The first group was walking back from the football game when they were attacked by these two juveniles and some others while they walked along the trail," Vernon Police Lt. William Meier said. Police believe that the victim was known to the assailants and that it was not a random act.

Another person was also assaulted Friday night, according to police.

A 17-year-old Vernon resident who is believed to be the person responsible for stabbing the teen multiple times was arrested early Monday morning. He is also believed to have cut another person on the finger.

On Monday morning, police arrested another a 17-year-old Vernon resident who is believed to be responsible for hitting the teen multiple times with a bat, causing serious injuries.

Officers believe the second juvenile also hit another person with the bat and caused additional injuries. Authorities said the assault took place at the same time and location as the stabbing.

"One of the juveniles allegedly stabbed the victim while the other hit him with a bat. There was also a second victim who was cut on his finger and he was also struck with the bat as well," Lt. Meier added.

Both juveniles were taken into custody early Monday morning and face charges including assault, conspiracy to commit assault, breach of peace and possession of a dangerous weapon. Police said they are being held in the Hartford Juvenile Detention Facility and will appear in court on Monday.

On Friday, police made arrests after finding a car in an apartment complex on Terrace Drive that was believed to have been involved in the incident. Inside of the vehicle, police said they found a hunting knife, a baseball bat and a wooden pole that had knife blades taped to both ends.

Officers arrested Haley Machholz, 19, of Vernon, and Jakwai Sosa, 20, of Hartford, along with a 15-year-old who was in the car with them. The three were charged with possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle. Police said they believe they were going to retaliate for the stabbing.

"I believe those three individuals, who we arrested Friday night, were trying to retaliate for the stabbing attack," Lt. Meier said.

Sosa is being held on $15,000 bond. Sosa and Machholz are due in court on Oct. 1.

Merrill is hoping this is an end to the violence.

“It’s horrible. I don’t want anymore. I don’t want anyone else getting hurt. I went out of my way to tell all my kids' friends, don’t. This is not worth it. We’re not doing it. We’re going to handle it the right way,” said Merrill.

Police said the victim is a Rockville High School student, one of the individuals arrested is a Rockville High School student and the other is a former Rockville High School student, according to Lt. Meier.

There will be extra police and security at Rockville High School until further notice as a precaution.

“The safety and security of our students and staff in and out of school is our top priority,” said Vernon Public Schools Superintendent Joseph P. Macary.

He said counselors are available to any student who needs to talk about what happened. 

The investigation remains ongoing and officers said more arrests are expected. Anyone with information is asked to call Vernon Police. Callers can remain anonymous.

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