Trial date set for man accused of stabbing on ferry

Man allegedly changed clothes

PORT TOWNSEND — A 22-year-old man charged with stabbing a rider on the Port Townsend-Coupeville ferry route is expected to go to trial in November.

Gabriel Thomas Dignum pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Sept. 18 on two charges in regard to the stabbing of Christopher Haltom on the Kennewick state ferry on Sept. 9.

Dignum’s trial dates are set for 9 a.m. Nov. 16-19 in the Jefferson County Superior Court, court documents said. His next appearance will be an omnibus hearing at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 16.

Dignum was charged Sept. 10 by Anna Phillips, Jefferson County deputy prosecuting attorney, with second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, a Class B felony, and unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon, a gross misdemeanor, court documents said. Dignum’s hometown was not immediately clear.

As of Wednesday, Dignum remained in the Jefferson County Jail with a $100,000 bond.

Dignum allegedly stabbed Haltom, whose age and hometown are unknown, during an altercation on the ferry.

Haltom was treated and was released from Jefferson Healthcare hospital in Port Townsend that night, according to the probable cause statement written by State Patrol Trooper Alisha Gruszewski.

Dignum was traveling on the Kennewick ferry from Coupeville on Whidbey Island to Port Townsend at about 7:45 p.m. when he reportedly became involved in a verbal altercation with Haltom, Gruszewski said.

The argument escalated into a physical fight, and Dignum stabbed Haltom in the back with a knife, Gruszewski said in her report.

Crew members aboard the Kennewick separated the two and treated Haltom’s wound, she said.

At about 8 p.m., local law enforcement was alerted to the assault, and officers with the Port Townsend Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and State Patrol met the ferry in Port Townsend.

Dignum changed clothes after the altercation, apparently to avoid identification, authorities said.

Ferry personnel and riders pointed out Dignum to Port Townsend Police officers, saying he matched the description except for his clothes, Gruszewski said.

Clothes matching the initial description were found in Dignum’s backpack, Gruszewski said.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at zjablonski@peninsuladailynews.com.

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