2 UNH Students Charged in Stabbing of Another Student

An early morning text message from the University of New Hampshire Alert System warning students of an armed suspect on campus.

"Subject is a suspect of an assault that occurred in Durham and he is armed with a knife," UNH student Ainsley-Aude Croteau read out loud for us Monday.

It came through to students on Saturday morning.

Durham Police say just before one o'clock in the morning they found two victims inside 17 Madbury Road, just off campus.
One had been punched in the face, the other had been stabbed twice.

According to the affidavit, the stabbing victim appeared to be critical and was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.

Police arrested 20-year-old Mathew Gibbons for the stabbing and 21 year old Eric Denning for punching the other victim.
Gibbons posted $100,000 surety and was released.

Denning appeared in Strafford County Superior Court Monday. Defense Attorney Adam Bernstein argued his client had nothing to do with the stabbing. The judge released Denning on personal recognizance bail.

"He's a great kid, 21-year-old kid, great family, you saw the courtroom, it was packed," Bernstein said.

Denning's family and friends sat behind him in court. His friends did not want to comment on camera, but one told NECN, "He's one of the nicest kids I know."

Denning and Gibbons are suspended from UNH while their cases play out in court.

Bernstein says for Denning, a former standout athlete at Salem High School without any previous run-ins with the law, that suspension and two nights in jail is punishment enough.

"He's won all sorts of awards, he's active in the community, a mechanical engineering student with top grades, you go from that to serious allegations and landing in Strafford County House of Corrections," Bernstein said. "Fair to say he's not having a great day, though today is a better day because he is getting out."

Police say after the crime, Gibbons actually sent a Snapchat of a photo showing him holding a knife in his bloody hands. Denning was in the background.

Gibbons posted bail and will face a judge next month.

Denning will go back to jail on $50,000 cash only bail if he violates any conditions of today's release.

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