Suspect in Thanksgiving melee at Harrah’s Pool is released

dante braxton-dh

One of the men charged in stabbing at an Atlantic City casino last year was released from jail Tuesday, after the judge questioned the strength of the case.

“It’s a stabbing case where the victim was not stabbed,” defense attorney Wayne Powell told the judge.

Dante Braxton, 25, is accused of stabbing a man during the fight at The Pool in Harrah’s at about 1:30 a.m. Nov. 24.

But the man Braxton allegedly stabbed was not treated for a stab wound, Powell said.

Instead, he had a broken jaw.

Judge Patricia Wild asked for clarification about the injury.

The victim “seems to have been poked on left side of his body,” Assistant Prosecutor Paige Cramer said, reading from one of the officer’s reports.

“The report says he was poked?” the judge asked.

Cramer then read how it was “a small object in their right hand, appearing to be a knife or blade.”

But in the absence of either a stab wound or a weapon, Wild said the case may not be as serious as it was at first glance.

No witnesses identified Braxton, his attorney added. Instead, he was identified from surveillance videos and some sort of facial recognition software, Powell said.

“He was not a fugitive,” he told the judge, alleging the police did not try to arrest his client until this month.

But police did announce Braxton and two other men as fugitives when they put out information about the melee a day after it happened.

One of the men was later said to no longer be a suspect. The third man, Kamal Allen, has not been arrested. He did, however, lose his job as part of the city’s anti-violence unit.

“Given the very perceptive analysis of the discovery here by Mr. Powell, there is a serious possibility of the state not being able to sustain these aggravated assault second-degree charges,” the judge said.

Braxton did have 12 pending charges at the time of the fight.

He was arrested hours before the fights broke out in relation to drug deals on Atlantic Avenue. He and three others were released on summonses in that case.

“How serious can those 12 pending charges be if he’s on a summons?” the judge asked.

That along with the questions about the state’s case was enough for her to deviate from the public safety assessment, which recommended Braxton be held.

He was released on conditions that included weekly reporting, with every other week in person. Braxton is also barred from any Atlantic City casinos while he is on pretrial release.

“Harrah’s, on more than one occasion … it is a place that often engenders these type of brawls,” the judge noted. “I think because it frankly involves a lot of alcohol and a lot of people.”