ITHACA, N.Y. — A young Ithaca man who stabbed someone on the Stewart Avenue bridge in Collegetown more than a year ago was sentenced to jail time Wednesday afternoon.
Khaliq Gale, 22, was sentenced to six months in jail and five years of post-release supervision after being convicted of second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon on Dec. 1. He was also sentenced to three years of probation for the lesser charge.
Gale stabbed Zachary Pealo in the leg during a drug deal gone wrong on Sept. 27, 2016.
In court, District Attorney Matt Van Houten said Gale met with Pealo to buy marijuana. But when the exchange happened, Gale snatched the marijuana, which was in a box, and tried to run away. Pealo chased Gale down Stewart Avenue and the two collided at the bridge, bumping into each other for a brief moment. It’s at that time, Van Houten said, that Gale stabbed Pealo.
According to video played in court from Ithaca Police Officer Caprice VanAuken’s body camera, Pealo writhed in pain on the bridge as a passerby provided first aid to him. He described his attacker to the officer and police searched for Gale.
Ithaca police later released a photo of Gale to the public while they searched for him for nearly two weeks. Gale eventually voluntarily turned himself into police.
Video from cameras on the bridge, however, do not show who had the knife.
Defense attorney Seth Peacock claimed during the trial that it was Pealo who had the knife, and that the man accidentally stabbed himself in the leg. He said it would have been impossible for Gale to have the knife because he was holding the box of marijuana when the stabbing happened.
After considering the evidence, however, the jury sided with the prosecution.