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2 UI students stabbed

BY SAM LANE | APRIL 26, 2010 7:30 AM

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Two University of Iowa students remain hospitalized after being stabbed in an altercation that occurred outside a downtown apartment building in the early hours of April 23.

UI senior Dannel Frisco, along with another student, are recovering at the UI Hospital and Clinics.

On Sunday afternoon, Frisco slept with a cloth draped over his forehead and sheets clustered around his abdomen.

According to police reports, three men walked up to a building in the 200 block of South Linn Street, where Frisco and others were sitting on the front steps. The men entered the area uninvited and, after exchanging a few words, a fight broke out.

“The majority — and I want to say all of us — were very intoxicated,” said James O’Brien, one of Frisco’s friends and a witness to the incident. “I don’t even know how I got these abrasions on my face.”

After the stabbing, police found two of the three suspects in the lower level of the Dubuque Street parking garage. Though witnesses identified all of the suspects as being involved in the fight, only Molike Jerome Bennett of Cedar Rapids has been arrested. He is charged with two counts of willful injury, a Class C felony.

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The 37-year-old Bennett has previous arrests in Linn and Johnson Counties, including a felony drug arrest in 2003.

At 8:30 a.m. April 23, Cindy Frisco and her husband received a voice mail message from their son.

“ ‘Mom, Dad, I’m trying to get a hold of you. I’ve been stabbed,’ ” Cindy Frisco recalled her son saying in a lobby at the UIHC on Sunday. That message, she said, caused her to become an “emotional wreck.”

Cindy Frisco flew to Iowa City from Chicago hours after hearing the message; her husband and two other children remained at home.

By the time he called his parents, Dannel Frisco had undergone surgery on two stab wounds, resulting in 47 stitches down the center of his abdomen and seven more on his side. The knife nicked part of his lower bowel.

UI senior Kyle Schwarz, Dannel Frisco’s friend who lived next door to him during their freshman year, said he was “shocked” to hear about the incident.

“I’ve never known him to be anything short of super fun and super friendly,” Schwarz said. “He’ll go out of the way to catch up with you. He’s a get-to-know-you type of guy.”

Cindy Frisco said her son has always been very focused, serious, and outgoing. He played basketball, baseball, and water polo while in high school.

On the night of April 24, some of Dannel Frisco’s friends came to his hospital room to watch his favorite hockey team, the Chicago Blackhawks, with him. Many of his UI friends went to high school with or near him.

The finance major lives in an apartment just a few blocks off campus and works part-time for the UI Foundation’s Telefund, which solicits donations from alumni.

Cindy Frisco said she’s sure she will eventually have a lot of anger about the stabbing, but for now is just relieved her son is alive.

Dannel Frisco was raised in Chicago, where crime is more common, she said. So when Cindy Frisco and her husband sent their son to the UI, they thought he would be safe and secure.

“It’s so ironic and mind-boggling,” Cindy Frisco said. “It really goes to show you that anything can happen anywhere.”

A family member of the other victim in the stabbing declined to comment on Sunday.

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