Suspect allegedly stabs man over proper way to panhandle

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The following is a press release from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office:

On November 21, 2008, at approximately 9 P.M., Yavapai County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a reported stabbing incident on the I17, north of Cordes Junction. Several Department of Public Safety Officers were on scene detaining two men. A third man had already been transported to the Verde Valley Medical Center due to a stab wound.

A DPS officer told deputies he had stopped to assist what he thought was a stranded motorist at the location. As he spoke with the registered owner of the green Ford Explorer, 51-year-old Phoenix resident Joey Morales, a man approached from the roadway median yelling for help. The man claimed he had just been stabbed by Morales and was obviously injured as the DPS officer could see a large blood stain on his back. The 51-year-old victim was held as EMS personnel were called to the scene.

Deputies interviewed Morales who was detained in the back of a DPS patrol vehicle. Morales denied stabbing the victim but admitted he had argued with him earlier. Morales believed the victim had fallen on some rocks near the roadside which caused the injuries. During a search of the vehicle, a bloody covered knife was found inside. The other passenger was interviewed and claimed no knowledge of the stabbing.

A YCSO supervisor met the victim at VVMC. The victim had sustained a stab wound just below the neck area which was not life threatening. The victim explained that he been traveling with Morales and another man the last couple of days and ended up in Flagstaff and Camp Verde panhandling for food and gas. On the way back to the Phoenix area today, the vehicle broke down. Morales had been arguing with him as to the proper way to panhandle and spend the proceeds. While sitting in the vehicle, Morales suddenly got upset and stabbed him in the back. The victim ran from the scene and returned when he saw DPS arrive.

Morales was transported to the Camp Verde Detention Center and booked on charges of Aggravated Assault, Disorderly Conduct and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (cocaine pipe).