City man pleads guilty in two stabbing cases, is free on bail until September

(Edward A. Widger).

A city man, arrested for stabbing a second person in April while awaiting trial for stabbing a man in 2020, pled guilty to second-degree assault Thursday in exchange for a three-year prison sentence.

Edward A. Widger, 25, formerly of Port Watson St., is free on bail until his Sept. 2 sentencing.

Widger also pled guilty to misdemeanor criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation. Upon his release from prison, Widger will face five years of post-release supervision, under the plea agreement that covers the two separate arrests.

If Widger commits another crime before his sentencing, he can be sentenced to the maximum sentence of seven years in prison with five years of post-release supervision, under the terms of his plea agreement. Widger was previously convicted of felony, third-degree burglary in 2014 in Cortland County Court and sentenced to two to six years in prison, noted Chief Assistant District Attorney Christopher Simser, Sr. on Thursday.

Widger pled guilty to slashing a man with a folding knife in broad daylight on Aug. 10, 2020 in the parking lot of the Cortland County Office Building on 60 Central Ave.  At about 11:15 a.m., Widger used a 3 ½ inch-long knife with a blue blade and black and gold handle to slash a 26-year-old man’s arm while the man rode past Widger on a bicycle, according to court documents. The knife left a seven-inch slice in the man’s upper right arm that required stitches, the documents note.

Widger came out from beside a tree with the knife in his hand, the injured man told police in a statement.

“He sliced my right arm as I rode by him,” the man stated. “I believe Edward is mad at me because I have been talking with his girlfriend.”

Police were called immediately after the knifing, which was witnessed, and officers arrested Widger within minutes at the County Office Building, according to the Cortland Police Department and court documents.

It was unclear if Widger posted bail or was released on his own recognizance after his arrest, but Widger was free when he was rearrested on May 26 for stabbing and choking a different woman in her city apartment while her toddler slept in the other room.

Widger stabbed the woman in the wrist, leaving a one-inch deep wound, and twice more in the back of the left leg using a razor blade, according to court documents. He also choked the woman and stole her cell phone before he left the apartment after the attack so that she could not call the police, the documents note.

Widger was intoxicated when he went to the woman’s apartment between 1 and 7 a.m. on April 21, according to the woman’s sworn statement.

“Edward kept slapping me and then strangled me. He grabbed my neck with both of his hands and I felt I was starting to black out,” the woman stated. “I just remember crying and trying to breathe.”

When Widger choked her a second time, she was afraid for her life, the woman stated.

“I could not breathe,” she said. “I believe that Edward was trying to kill me.”

As the attack continued, Widger pulled a razor blade out of his pocket and stabbed three times, the woman told police.

“I was terrified,” she said. “I just sat in the living room, crying, and holding my wounds. The stab wounds kept bleeding.”

After the attack, Widger stole her phone and left the apartment, according to court documents. The woman went to a neighbor’s, called an ambulance and was treated at Guthrie Cortland Medical Center. She refused to return to her apartment for fear Widger would return and reported the attack to city police on May 25, the documents note.

As part of the plea deal, a permanent order of protection will be issued to protect the woman and child.

Thursday’s conviction is the fifth for Widger, according to court documents. As a young man, Widger was convicted four times in cases involving violent felonies that were later sealed under the youthful offender statute, noted Simser in the plea deal. Widger also violated parole and probation in the past, leading to revocations, wrote Simser.