SNOW HILL — A Federalsburg, Md. man, arrested in Texas last spring 11 years after stabbing a man in a 54th Street restaurant parking lot, was found guilty last week of first-degree assault and was sentenced to 25 years in jail.
On July 24, 2010, a man was found to be stabbed multiple times in the parking lot of a restaurant at 54th Street. At the time, the investigation revealed Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers arrived on the scene shortly after 2 a.m. to find the victim lying in the parking lot.
The investigation revealed an unknown suspect approached the victim and stabbed him multiple times before fleeing the scene. Witnesses at the scene reported the suspect stabbed the victim and that the incident was believed to be connected to an earlier disagreement inside the restaurant.
The OCPD offered a $5,000 reward for information about the suspect at the time, but he was not located, and the case was cold for over 10 years. However, the investigation led to identifying the suspect as Manuel Escalante, Jr., now 48, of Federalsburg, Md. Despite the reward and Escalante’s photograph being widely distributed to the media, he remained at large until last March 22, when he was located in Laredo, Texas and taken into custody.
Escalante was transported back to Worcester County where he was charged with first-degree assault and other counts. Last week, Escalante entered an Alford plea to one count of first-degree assault. In an Alford plea, a suspect does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the state has enough evidence to prosecute the case. After nearly 12 years since the incident, Escalante was sentenced to 25 years in prison.