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Lawyers claim self-defense in Vegas Strip stabbing

By Ken Ritter

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 9:06 a.m. HST, Sep 12, 2013

LAS VEGAS » A Southern California man accused of stabbing two people on a walkway between Las Vegas Strip hotels was defending himself, his defense attorneys said Wednesday.

Attorneys Tom Pitaro and Amy Chelini said following an initial court appearance Wednesday that they expect casino security video will show that two larger assailants attacked their client, Toan Vo, 19, of Westminster, Calif.

"The other guys were the antagonists," Pitaro said. "We're waiting to see what the video shows."

Pitaro said Vo plans to plead not guilty and fight the felony assault with a deadly weapon and battery causing substantial bodily harm charges against him.

In court, Justice of the Peace Cynthia Cruz set bail at $40,000 and scheduled Vo's next court appearance for Sept. 18.

The judge also ordered police to preserve the video surveillance records and prosecutors to turn over copies to Pitaro and Chelini.

Police Officer Laura Meltzer, a department spokeswoman, said the department won't release the video evidence to the public.

Police reported that an argument between two groups and fistfight preceded the stabbing about 7:45 p.m. Saturday on the enclosed walkway connecting the Luxor and Excalibur hotel-casinos.

Two males were taken with stab wounds to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where a hospital official said one was discharged hours later and the other was hospitalized for several days.

Pitaro said he expects Vo will post bail to be freed from the Clark County jail in Las Vegas.

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