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Suspect in mobile-home park stabbing owed victim money, police document says

Suspect in mobile-home park stabbing owed victim money, police document says
Clifford Barnett Haines, 38, left, and Nicholas Joseph Deleonardi, 31, are facing charges of attempted murder in connection with a stabbing and attempted robbery in Huntington Beach. (Courtesy of Orange County district attorney's office)

A man who was stabbed at a Huntington Beach mobile-home park April 1 told police that he had gone there to pick up money when two men with a knife and a hatchet attacked him, according to a court document released Friday.

Clifford Barnett Haines, 38, of Huntington Beach and Nicholas Joseph Deleonardi, 31, of Anaheim were arrested and charged in the case. Both pleaded not guilty last week to charges of attempted murder, attempted second-degree robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, according to Orange County Superior Court records.

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Details of the incident have been thin, but a law enforcement affidavit attached to a search warrant filed in Superior Court outlines events leading to the man's 911 call and the police investigation that followed.

According to the affidavit, the man told officers that he went to Huntington Mobile Estates at 7652 Garfield Ave. that night to pick up money he was owed from a man nicknamed "Dork." He said he was standing at the mobile-home park's basketball court when "Dork" and another man walked up to him.

"One of the subjects had a knife and the other had a tomahawk or a hatchet," Huntington Beach police Det. Richard Chen wrote in the affidavit. "Without saying anything, both subjects came at him."

The man told police that the two stabbed him, took his Gucci wallet and fled in a silver-colored Dodge Magnum. The man snapped a photo of the car's license plate before it drove off, Chen wrote.

Huntington Beach police cars line a street April 2 at Huntington Mobile Estates as detectives investigate a stabbing that occurred the night before.
Huntington Beach police cars line a street April 2 at Huntington Mobile Estates as detectives investigate a stabbing that occurred the night before. (File Photo)

Heather Cleland, who lives in the mobile-home park, said she heard tires squealing and walked outside to find the man leaning against a concrete wall a few homes away from hers.

At about 10 p.m., the man called police as he propped himself against the wall. His words were slurred and he said he was "about to pass out due to his injury," Chen wrote.

The man was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he underwent surgery to have his spleen removed. The stabbing had lacerated his spleen, pancreas and kidney, Chen wrote.

When police arrived, they found the Magnum parked in the carport next to space No. 65. Officers knocked on the door of the mobile home, but someone inside turned off the lights. No one answered, according to Chen.

At about 2 a.m., police made announcements on a loudspeaker for people inside the home to exit. Haines, his girlfriend and two other adults eventually walked out of the home. Haines' two children also were inside, Chen wrote.

Authorities searched the home, the Magnum and a Honda Civic registered to Haines. It isn't clear whether anything significant was found.

Haines, who authorities believe was "Dork," was arrested shortly after 3 a.m. Deleonardi was arrested a day later. It is unclear how police tied Deleonardi to the incident.

Haines and Deleonardi were booked into Orange County Jail in Santa Ana. Their bail was set at $550,000 and $615,000, respectively.

Twitter: @HannahFryTCN

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