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Howard Avenue stabbing case to move to grand jury

By Gary Liberatore

(WKTV) - A felony hearing was on Thursday for 71-year-old Lawrence Abbott of Utica determined there was enough evidence to move the case forward.

Abbott, of Green Street, is charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of 60-year-old Paul Grimes that took place around 7:45 p.m. May 30.

The stabbing occurred inside the Howard Avenue apartment of a woman named Carmen Ramos.

According to neighbors who testified Thursday and live in the same two-family home, which now houses five separate apartments, Grimes was Ramos' longtime boyfriend.

And according to Abbott's family members who were in court to listen to the felony hearing, Abbott had recently met Carmen Ramos.

Sam Abbott, Lawrence Abbott's cousin, told News Channel 2 he had never heard about or met Carmen Ramos until the day Grimes was stabbed.

"I just met Carmen that afternoon," Sam Abbott said. "He stopped by and she was in the car with him.  He introduced her as his girlfriend."

Abbott's son, Edward Abbott, also attended the felony hearing.  He says his father is a quiet, loving and caring person who suffers from severe emphysema.

"I just can't picture my dad doing this to someone," he said.

One of Paul Grimes' children, Shania Wood, also attended the felony hearing on Thursday.  She says this past week has been extremely tough on her entire family.

"It's hard, my family is not taking it easy, not only did me and my siblings lose my father, but someone has lost a husband , a brother, a grandfather, a kind man," she said. "My dad didn't deserve this."

The felony hearing was held to determine whether a felony was committed.

A neighbor in the adjoining apartment on the second floor testified she heard three people arguing, some banging against the wall, even some items being thrown.

A downstairs neighbor testified she saw Paul Grimes come stumbling outside and fall to the ground, and a Utica police officer testified that Abbott was still inside the apartment upstairs when officers arrived and that Abbott handed over the suspected murder weapon, a pocket knife that was in his pocket. Abbott said he washed it before police arrived.

After hearing the testimony, Utica City Court Judge John Balzano ruled there was enough evidence to show a felony was committed.

Abbott was returned to the Oneida County Jail.

A grand jury is expected to hear the case within the next 45 days.

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