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Man accused of stabbing 5 pleads not guilty

PORTLAND — A former Oregon State University student pleaded not guilty Tuesday to attempted murder and other crimes in a knife attack against five people at a home near the Corvallis-based campus.

Benjamin L. Bucknell, 22, started a fire outside the home Monday morning before entering the place and stabbing four men and a woman, police and prosecutors said. After fleeing, he was arrested near a senior center in the college town 80 miles south of Portland.

Bucknell was treated at a hospital before being taken to jail. Court-appointed attorney Thomas Hill declined comment, saying he has yet to have a meaningful opportunity to meet with his client.

Judge Locke Williams set bail at $1 million during Tuesday's arraignment, much less than the $3 million sought by prosecutor Amie Matusko.

"I said that this was the most horrific and violent attack that the state had seen," she said in a phone interview after the hearing.

Matusko said the attack appeared to be "planned and directed," with Bucknell trying to hide his appearance.

"He poured gasoline on two sides of the house by the basement-bedroom windows," she said. "The fire actually came inside the house and lit the sleeping bag of one resident while he was inside the bag."

According to court records, Bucknell is charged with attempted murder in the attacks on Catherine Lisman, Dan Rinkevich and Jesus Valencia-Camacho. He's charged with assaulting the other victims, Nolan Batuso and Evan Burns.

Batuso, an Oregon State student who was released from the hospital Monday, told several media outlets that four of the victims live at the house and the other was staying over. He said the most seriously injured victim was flown to a Portland hospital for treatment of head and back wounds.

Matusko and police have not revealed a possible motive. In addition to attempted murder and assault, Bucknell pleaded not guilty to arson, resisting arrest, unlawful use of a weapon and criminal mischief.

Bucknell attended Oregon State as recently as last year. He majored in forestry.