(The victim is) off the ventilator today, but is still listed in critical condition. —David Boren, Duchesne County Sheriff's Chief Deputy
DUCHESNE — A name-calling incident during gym class apparently led to a stabbing Wednesday at Duchesne High School, according to investigators.
Leland Patrick King was charged Thursday in 8th District Court with aggravated assault, a first-degree felony, due to the severity of the victim's injuries and the fact that the alleged attack took place on school grounds, Duchesne County Attorney Stephen Foote said.
King, 18, is also charged with possession of a dangerous weapon on school premises, a class B misdemeanor.
Witnesses told investigators that King and a 17-year-old student were in gym class when they got into a fight on the football field at Duchesne High after the younger student called King "a few names," Duchesne County Sheriff's Chief Deputy David Boren said.
The teacher and other students separated King and his classmate, and both were told to report to the office, charging documents state. King went into the locker room to change, followed by the 17-year-old, whose name has not been released.
"(The 17-year-old) exited a few seconds later stating that he had been stabbed," the charges state.
Responding deputies determined that the boy had been stabbed twice in the back and once in the right arm, Boren said. He was taken to Uintah Basin Medical Center in Roosevelt and then flown to a Salt Lake-area hospital where he underwent surgery Wednesday night.
"He's off the ventilator today but is still listed in critical condition," Boren said Thursday afternoon.
Investigators spoke with one witness who said he saw King walk out of the locker room after the stabbing and drop a knife. The student said King picked the knife up and walked toward the parking lot, the charges state.
Another student said he saw King get into a car in an apparent attempt to leave the school.
"(The witness) opened the passenger door and took the keys out of the ignition," charging documents state.
Deputies took King into custody a short time later. He was formally booked Thursday into the Duchesne County Jail, where he was being held without bail.
Investigators have executed search warrants on King's car and on his home in Fruitland, Duchesne County. Evidence collected during those searches and at the scene of the stabbing have been sent to the state crime lab for testing.
If convicted of the aggravated assault charge, King faces a possible sentence of five years to life in prison. His first court appearance is set for Monday.
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