Two men who tried to part a fight at a St. Thomas nightclub appeared to have gotten more than they bargained for. One got stitches from a knife assault; the other was knocked unconscious by one of the combatants.
Then the battered man was arrested and charged with multiple offenses after he stumbled to his feet, dropping a firearm on the floor. Details contained in court documents said the incident began when a fight broke out at the club between another man facing off against two brothers.
Defendant Kehli Ublies of Estate Solberg was at the club at the time the fight broke out on Oct. 26. Police say he joined the fray in defense of the one who was outnumbered. Investigators obtained images from a security camera to describe what happened next.
“ … the fight then continued to the stage area and that’s when the suspect later identified as Kehli Ublies aka ‘Marshi’, jumped in,” said police detective Richard Velazques. The images showed that a some point, one of the combatants was bleeding. A later video sequence showed the suspect making repeated stabbing motions towards the bleeding man.
Velazquez also cited surveillance images showing the end of the fight, when the injured man and another identified as his brother converged on the suspect and left him lying on the floor with a bloody knife in his hand. One of the club’s security guards walked over and moved the knife away.
A few moments later, Ublies struggled to his feet, and as he did a firearm dropped to the floor. Three other nightclub patrons, identified as two off-duty cops and a corrections officer, walked over to inspect the scene and set up a perimeter around the weapon.
Ublies was taken into custody, charged with assault, reckless endangerment, disturbance of the peace, use of a dangerous weapon in the commission of a violent crime and unlawful possession of ammunition. As they prepared to transport the suspect, officers at the scene encountered another individual who told them he also was wounded as the fight between the men escalated.
Once the arrest was processed, Urblies’ record of a prior offense from 2002 surfaced from New York.
Authorities added the charge of felon in possession of a firearm. At the preliminary hearing held Wednesday in Superior Court, Magistrate Paula Norkadis told Urblies he faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years if found guilty.
The magistrate also upheld the $100,000 set at the time of arrest and denied a request for a 10 percent cash provision because of the prior conviction which involved a firearm. “The court does view Mr. Ublies as a flight risk, an extreme flight risk,” Norkadis said.
Public Defender Thoron Corey Hodge did not argue the magistrate’s decision, but asked the court to allow Urblies to continue working to support his family if he is able to cover the amount. Hodge then asked Norkadis to have the case transferred to another lawyer outside the Public Defender’s office, since he had represented two of the victims on previous occasions.
Arraignment is scheduled to take place Nov. 11.