Navy charges Sailor accused in stabbing

Wilbur Harwell outside Federal Court in Norfolk on June 12, 2014. (WAVY/Walter Hildebrand)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Sailor accused of stabbing another Sailor near Naval Medical Center Portsmouth last month was charged by the Navy Wednesday.

Petty Officer Wilbur G. Harwell was charged with attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon, according to Navy spokesman Jim Moir.

The charges come after Harwell is said to have stabbed Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin D. Powell on June 6 in a barracks room at the Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads Portsmouth Annex.

NCIS agents said Harwell fled the scene, and they believe another service member likely helped him leave the installation before the gates were closed and drove him to the Oceanfront.

Moir said emergency services learned of the stabbing at 8:33 a.m., and at 8:35 a.m. the installation’s gates were closed and personnel ordered to shelter in place. That order lasted for more than eight hours until Harwell was taken into custody at an Oceanfront hotel.

Powell suffered serious injuries, but was treated and released last month from the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth.

Harwell has been held in pre-trial confinement since being turned over to Navy custody by federal agents on June 12, Moir said. His Article 32 hearing is tentatively scheduled for August 18.

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