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Robert Jarell NealBurlington, NC — Witnesses to a stabbing say a deaf man was signing with another man when a third man mistook their sign language for gang signs and began stabbing one of the men.

Burlington Police believe 22-year Robert Jarell Neal stabbed 45-year-old Terrance Ervin Daniels with a kitchen knife Wednesday after possibly mistaking the deaf victim’s sign language as gang signs.

Witnesses described seeing Neal stabbing Daniels with a kitchen knife multiple times. “My voice is gone from me screaming, ‘Stop, stop, leave that man alone,” said Candace Gerrington, who witnessed the attack.

“He was stabbed all around his body, his hands and face were cut up,” said Mary Latta, who saw Daniels after the attack. “It was bad.”

Police responded to the scene and found Daniels lying in the grass. He was rushed to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill were he underwent surgery. He was listed in stable condition on Thursday.

After the stabbing, Cathy Sanford saw Neal running through her backyard. She called police after Neal returned and threatened her 12-year-old granddaughter.

Police arrested Neal and charged him with felony assault on a handicapped person and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. He’s being held in the Alamance County jail on a $500,000 secure bond.

As you probably suspected, Neal is no stranger to police. His criminal history includes three assaults on a female, assault with intent to kill, two communicating threats, DWI, injury to real property, injury to personal property and two resist, delay or obstruction of officers.

To be fair, and regardless of what the headlines are to the other articles I linked to, police did not confirm that sign language was the actual motive for the stabbing. However, they did say alcohol was a factor.

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I knew this story sounded familiar, and Jaded commented that is because she wrote up a similar story back in 2011. In that case, a deaf man celebrating his birthday at a club was stabbed after his sign language was mistaken for gang signs.

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