For Immediate Release - March 31, 2016

Salem State Student Held in Stabbing

A 24-year-old Salem State University student was arraigned in Salem District Court today for Attempted Murder, Mayhem, Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, Strangulation or Suffocation, and Assault & Battery in connection with the alleged stabbing of a 58-year-old professor on campus yesterday.   

Judge William Fitzpatrick ordered Stephen Chastain of Salem to undergo a mental health evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital. 

Essex Assistant District Attorney Erin Bellavia told the court that the victim was allegedly attacked from behind while washing his hands in the bathroom.  The victim was allegedly strangled until he passed out and suffered 23 to 30 stab wounds.  When the victim was able to get out of the bathroom, the attack continued but several witnesses came to his aid and the defendant fled.  He was apprehended by Salem State University Police after a witness followed him and informed police of his location.

ADA Bellavia also filed a motion requesting a dangerousness hearing.  Judge Fitzpatrick found probable cause to hold the hearing which will be scheduled pending the outcome of the mental health evaluation.  A status hearing was scheduled from April 19, 2016.

The defendant is represented by Rebecca Whitehill and is presumed innocent until proven guilty.