Man sent to prison in Carson stabbing, accused of murder in California

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A former Carson City man accused in a California stabbing death had spent five years in prison for slashing another man in the throat.

Charles James Smith, 39, is accused of murdering his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Julie Biswell, 41, Saturday night in her Smartville, Calif., home.

Neighbors said the couple had been drinking heavily and were arguing loudly minutes before the victim called 911 at 11:06 p.m. The property's owner, Martin Daugherty, a diabetic whom the victim and Smith cared for, also called 911.

In 1991, Smith was living in Carson City with friends when a fight broke out between him and Steven Harold Rhodes in an apartment in the 500 block of Country Village Drive.

Rhodes, in his statement to police at the time, said after throwing punches back and forth Smith grabbed a double-edged knife from the kitchen table and began swinging it at him, striking him in the neck.

Rhodes said he eventually bent the knife blade and Smith fled on foot.

Smith pleaded no contest to a charge of attempted assault with a deadly weapon in exchange for dismissal of an attempted murder charge. He was initially given probation, but after failing to successfully complete the conditions, he was sent to prison for five years in 1995. He was released in 2000.

Smith was arraigned Tuesday on one count of murder in Nevada County (Calif.) Superior Court.


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