Man accused of biting off finger

Published 9:17 pm Monday, March 30, 2015

Suffolk courts are awaiting an interpreter to help deal with a man accused of biting off part of a finger during an altercation in North Suffolk.

Prabin Bhetwal, 35, is charged with maliciously stabbing, cutting or wounding his alleged victim with intent to main, disfigure or kill, as well as malicious wounding, both felonies.

A Suffolk detective filed the criminal complaint based on sworn statements from the victim and two witnesses, according to court documents.

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In the early hours of March 12, officers responded to a Bradford Drive residence after a person with a knife was reported, an arrest warrant states.

They discovered a victim with lacerations above the right eye and missing “part of the right ring finger up to the nail portion.”

The victim told police he or she was slashed after Bhetwal emerged from his room with a knife in his hand, according to the warrant.

During the altercation, the victim’s finger was in the mouth of Bhetwal, who “bit on it until part of it was cut off.”

One of the witnesses told police the incident unfolded after Bhetwal was told to go back inside his room, according to the warrant. The other witness cited a “verbal argument” between Bhetwal and his alleged victim outside the apartment.

The warrant states the alleged victim received stitches, while an officer found a “white-colored piece of skin on the floor of the dining room.”

According to a search warrant, Bhetwal, when he was located and detained, had signs of blood on his person and clothing.

Bhetwal, who has been in the community for about six months and has a 12th-grade education, earns $250 a week working at an ethnic restaurant, according to the legal paperwork.

The paperwork also says Bhetwal “is currently subject of (an) ICE detainer,” indicating U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would assume custody of him at some point.

Bhetwal, who is being held without bail, does not understand much English, Chief Judge James A. Moore discovered during an arraignment hearing on Friday, which was continued — for the third time — for lack of an interpreter.

“These are serious felony charges — you need a lawyer,” Moore told the defendant, adding the court would appoint counsel.

After attempting to discuss the issue of bail with Bhetwal, Moore said, “He seems to understand most of what we are saying. I would simply suggest to just go slowly with him … until we get the translator.”

According to copies of emails, the clerk of Suffolk General District Court has sought a Nepali translator from a Virginia Beach-based service, but an interpreter the service has in mind is yet to respond.