WALLA WALLA -- A gang member suspected of stabbing a member of his own gang in the neck during an altercation last month pleaded innocent Monday afternoon to two felony charges.
Jesse Corona, 19, of 115 N. Fifth Ave., is scheduled for trial starting Feb. 27 in Superior Court on two counts of first-degree assault.
Corona stabbed Brian Lamprea, 18, outside the residence at 412 S. Eighth Ave. about 1:40 a.m. Dec. 24, according to a police report filed in court.
Lamprea was badly injured with a puncture wound near the base of his skull that fractured a vertebra. He also suffered a head laceration and both wounds were bleeding profusely, officials said.
In addition, a juvenile -- whose name isn't being disclosed by law enforcement -- reportedly suffered a cut hand while trying to intervene in the fight.
Lamprea was taken by a patrol sergeant to Providence St. Mary Medical Center for treatment.
The juvenile received several stitches at the hospital, then was discharged.
Based on information from a confidential eyewitness, police believe Corona used a switchblade-style knife to stab Lamprea in the neck while a group of people were outside 412 S. Eighth.
Corona was contacted at his residence later that day and in an interview at the police station said he had been outside the Eighth Avenue residence that morning where he, himself, was assaulted about 3 a.m. by approximately five people who arrived in a white car.
Corona denied stabbing anyone.
He was taken into custody. Bail later was set at $75,000.
Corona pleaded guilty in September to a gross-misdemeanor riot charge for participating in a reported gang-related fight on West Cherry Street in early February. For that, he received a 330-day suspended jail sentence and 12 months of probation, which may be revoked because of the new charges against him.
Terry McConn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8319.