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Medford man accused in stabbing

A Medford man accused of stabbing another man in an Ashland bar fight faces seven and a half years in prison if convicted.

Edelmark Ganir Pinpin, 22, of the 800 block of South Columbus Avenue, heard the charge of first-degree assault filed against him Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court. The crime's minimum sentence is seven years and six months under Oregon's Measure 11.

Ashland police arrested Pinpin early Sunday outside Kat Wok, a downtown nightclub. Officers said they suspect him of stabbing another bar patron, 27-year-old Justin Sckneck, of Grants Pass, with a folding pocket knife during a fight. The knife appeared to have entered Sckneck's chest about an inch below his heart, Ashland police Sgt. Bob Smith told the Daily Tidings.

Sckneck was taken to Rogue Valley Medical Center where he was quickly treated and released, nursing staff said.

The two men apparently started fighting inside the nightclub around 2 a.m., police said. After bouncers showed them to the door, they continued to hurl insults and punches outside. Alcohol consumption likely played a role in the conflict, Smith said.

— Sckneck left the scene not realizing he had been stabbed, police said. When an officer caught up to him not far away from the bar, he said he had been punched several times in the ribs, which were really sore. Noticing that Sckneck had blood on his hands, the officer asked him to lift his shirt and saw the stab wound, Smith said.

Pinpin has no history of violent crime but in August entered a program to keep a charge of driving under the influence of intoxicants off his record. Seeking an indictment against Pinpin, the Jackson County District Attorney's Office likely will take the assault case before a grand jury Thursday, said Bernadette Adams of the district attorney's office. Pinpin remains in the Jackson County Jail in lieu of &

36;100,000 bail, reduced Tuesday from &

36;1 million set over the weekend.

A popular Ashland night spot since opening in 1997, Kat Wok has been the scene of several assaults, including one in April 2000 that police initially called a hate crime.

Three men said they were attacked because they are gay. However, a former Southern Oregon University football player was cleared of charges. The district attorney's office said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the case.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail .