UPDATE: Portsmouth Naval stabbing victim released from hospital

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on June 9, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 25 at 11:21 AM

6/25 UPDATE: Powell was released from the hospital on June 20, according to Navy spokesperson Jim Moir. Charges are still pending against the suspect in this case.  

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PORTSMOUTH -- Navy officials and medical personnel say Master at Arms 2nd Class Justin Powell is in 'great condition' after suffering multiple stab wounds near the barracks at Naval Station Medical Center Portsmouth Friday.

Hospital surgeon Capt. Angela Earley said Powell came into the emergency room awake and alert Friday morning, but couldn't speak due to a serious laceration across his neck that damaged his trachea. 

Earley says 33 medical personnel worked on Powell for more than five hours, repairing wounds to his neck, chest, abdomen and left arm.

She says Powell is in 'great condition,' looks wonderful and is breathing on his own. A breathing tube, though, makes it impossible for him to speak right now.  It is too soon to tell the extent of the damage to his trachea, she said.

Powell was able to see his daughter for the first time today.

"Seeing her put a big smile on his face," Earley said. 

Powell's wife, Tina, says she thanks God her husband is still alive.

"He told me this morning that his love for me and my daughter got him through this," Tina said.

She said she didn't want to talk about the stabbing incident but added, "Justice will be served."

Court documents filed Monday suggest that a fight broke out in the barracks between the suspect, 26-year-old Wilbur Harwell, and Powell. 

Witness accounts say Harwell was wielding a blade and stabbed Powell during the fight.  Witnesses were able to separate the two men when they saw Powell's stab wounds.

According to the affidavit, Harwell told a witness that he stabbed the victim several times and "thought the victim might die."

Harwell is charged with assault with intent to commit murder and three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.  He faces up to 50 years if found guilty on all counts. 

NCIS officials wouldn't comment Monday on who Harwell was able to get off the base after the stabbing, citing that the information was "part of the investigation."

On Friday morning, fire and emergency services were called at 8:33 a.m. and the base was on lockdown at 8:35. But NCIS officials said it is still not clear what time the stabbing occurred.

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