New Milford PD: Text message argument led to Grove Street stabbing
NEW MILFORD — Last month’s Grove Street stabbing appears to have been the culmination of a text message argument between the victim and the man accused of stabbing him.
That’s what a report filed by the New Milford Police Department following the Aug. 1 incident indicates.
Dion Bernier Jr., 27, was charged with first-degree assault, as well as tampering with physical evidence, after police say he stabbed a 28-year-old acquaintance that morning.
Officers responded to a call about an altercation at Bernier’s Grove Street home around 8:40 a.m. and found the victim “walking around the driveway with what appeared to be a stab wound to his abdomen,” police said.
Bernier “apparently told (a sergeant) he had no weapons on him,” according to the report, but police found a folding pocket knife clipped to his pants at the scene.
Two other people — a 43-year-old man from Danbury and a 42-year-old taxi driver — were also at the scene.
The taxi driver told police he picked up the Danbury man and the victim that morning, and was at the Grove Street residence to pick up Bernier and bring them all to a methadone clinic in Danbury.
He said he had driven the three of them to the clinic before and “believed them to be friends,” according to police.
The 43-year-old man told police that when he and the victim pulled up to Bernier’s residence in the cab, the victim told him Bernier had sent him a text message saying he was going to “put a knife to (the victim’s) throat or slit (his) throat,” according to the police report.
As the victim was showing him the message, the witness said Bernier came out of the house “all jacked up, like he wanted to fight,” according to police.
He said the victim then got out of the car, confronted Bernier and the two started fighting. After hearing the victim say he had been stabbed, the witness told police, he got out of the car and saw the victim “bleeding from his stomach.”
Bernier was placed under arrest shortly before 9 a.m. and declined to talk to police about the incident, according to the police report.
Police said the victim was transported to Danbury Hospital, where he underwent abdominal surgery.
A knife was also located on his person and “secured for safe keeping,” police said.
At the hospital, the victim showed text messages exchanged between him and Bernier.
In a message sent the morning of Aug. 1, the victim confronted Berner about something someone else had said, according to police. In response, Bernier said he didn’t “need this right now,” as he was dealing with the recent death of a family member.
After the victim called Bernier a “p---y” in a subsequent text, Berner threatened to “put a knife in (the victim’s) side” if he called him that again, according to the text messages.
At 8:39 a.m., the victim repeated the word three times in a text to Bernier and told him he was in the taxi outside his house. In less than a minute, Bernier replied, “Get out of the car,” according to the police report.
Bernier pleaded not guilty to the assault and evidence-tampering charges 11 days after his arrest and remains in custody on $250,000 bond.
He has a pre-trial hearing scheduled Friday morning at state Superior Court in Litchfield, where he is being represented by the Avon-based Law Office of Pat Brown, according to court records.