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RU Student Released After Being Charged in Stabbing Outside Frat Party

20-Year-Old Suspect From North Brunswick is a Member of Rutgers' TKE Fraternity
Robert Mannifield
Robert Mannifield Facebook

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A young man accused of stabbing a fellow student with a box-cutter on Delafield Street has been released from county jail to await possible indictment and trial.

Robert Mannifield, age 20, is apparently a student at Rutgers University and a member of the Tau Kapa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity, a fact that was first reported by The Tab.

According to The Tab's reporting, the incident took place outside of house party held at a "satellite house" for the fraternity.

The incident took place at approximately 12:43 AM on Sunday, September 10 between Courtlandt and Bristol Streets.

Eleven hours later, the Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD) announced the crime to the public via their crime alert system, which is available to the general public via Nixle.com.

"In this incident the victim... reported being approached by a male perpetrator following a verbal altercation which took place outside of a party located at an off campus residence," read the initial crime alert.

"The perpetrator assaulted the victim with a sharp object and then fled the area. The victim sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital."

The Home News Tribune identified a 20-year-old Rutgers junior from Toms River, Joseph Venditto, Jr., as the victim.

Reporter Suzanne Russell wrote that Venditto suffered three large stab wounds to his abdomen, "including one very close to his intestines," according to his family.

Venditto's parents detailed the chaos that broke out that morning in an interview with Russell:

According to Joseph Venditto, his son went to an off-campus fraternity party. His son, who is not a fraternity member, was inside the party, then went outside and exchanged words with a man outside the party.

"And all of a sudden he was stabbed, fell down and blanked out," Venditto said.

Laurie Venditto said her son did not know the person who stabbed him. She said her son was stabbed with a type of box cutter.

She said her son and his twin sister had both gone to the off-campus fraternity house party. Her son's friend tried to join them at the party but was not allowed to enter.

She said her son then went outside to find his friend when he got into a verbal dispute with a fraternity member who was controlling entrance to the party. Her son exchanged words with the fraternity member before he was stabbed. The fraternity member then ran off, she said.

Mannifield, who hails from North Brunswick, faces charges of aggravated assault and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, but he is already free man after about a week behind bars.

Judge Michael Toto, Middlesex County's Presiding Criminal Judge, ruled on September 20 that Mannifield be released pending trial on a condition of electronic monitoring and home detention, the most serious level of pre-trial monitoring outside of jail.

Russell reported that Mannifield "cannot return to Rutgers except to retrieve his belongings or for administrative hearings," but that he is permitted to leave his home for work or school, as well as religious services, visits to his attorney, and of course, court appearances.

The particular block of Delafield Street where the incident occurred, located in the heart of in the heart of a Sixth Ward neighborhood that has become increasingly populated by Rutgers students over the past two decades, has proven to be a hotspot for violent crimes in recent years.

It was also the same block where a wild party drew hundreds of young people and an ensuing police crackdown in 2013.

Two years later, a group including several members of the school's football team who have since been dismissed, broke a man's jaw in a dispute over a parking space in the area of Delafield and Courtlandt.

As we reported, when it comes to violence, this year has been no exception for the neighborhood.

In the early morning hours of May 9, a Rutgers man was struck by an assailant and robbed on the block, generating a university crime alert.

Unfortunately, the violence here did not stop with the September 10 stabbing.

Less than three weeks later, another Rutgers crime alert informed students and other community members of another aggravated assault that reportedly occurred on Saturday, September 30.

That incident took place on the very same block at approximately 5:20 PM.  Again, it was someone affiliated with Rutgers who was victimized.

"In this incident the victim... reported that he was at a party inside of a private residence when he was assaulted by several males following a verbal altercation," reads the recent alert.

"The incident continued onto the front porch of the residence as the victim fled the area."

The RUPD is asks for anyone with information on that crime, or who may have been in the area at the time, to contact their Detective Bureau at 848-932-8025.  

Meanwhile, the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) has taken the lead on investigating the stabbing, and they have asked--through RUPD--for anyone with information, or who may have been in the area at the time, to contact the NBPD Detective Bureau at 732-745-5217.