Joel Hall, who is on probation for his role in the 2004 beating death of a man in Norwich, claims he was acting in self-defense this weekend when he was involved in a stabbing incident outside Sully's Cafe in Groton.

Hall, 20, of Norwich, was arraigned Monday on charges of second-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree breach of peace.

Town police had responded to the bar at 1:15 a.m. Saturday for a report of multiple stab victims. Emergency workers found just one person with a minor knife wound, but police said evidence suggested there was at least one more victim.

On Monday, prosecutor Michael Kennedy said eyewitnesses had provided statements implicating Hall in the stabbings. Public defender Sean Kelly said Hall acted in self-defense when he was attacked by people who were attempting to break into his girlfriend's car.

Judge Kevin P. McMahon ordered Hall be held on a $49,000 cash bond and said the state would be making contact with the police to determine the strength of the case against Hall.

"There's independent witnesses that say he had a folding knife," McMahon said.

Hall was convicted along with five others for his role in the 2004 beating death of a Billy Derose in Norwich. At the time, Hall, then 15, had his charges reduced to hindering prosecution and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, suspended after three years, and three years probation.

He was later charged with a violation of probation after failing to abide by several conditions of his release, including submitting to medical and psychological evaluations, attending counseling sessions, getting his GED and not using drugs or alcohol. He posted $100,000 in that case, which is pending.

- Karen Florin


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