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Mastic teen denied bail in fatal stabbing

Michael Dennis, 19, of Mastic, is led out

Michael Dennis, 19, of Mastic, is led out of the Fifth Precinct in Patchogue Sunday morning, May 31, 2015, to be taken for arraignment in Central Islip Criminal Court. Dennis is charged with fatally stabbing Trevor Bender, 17, during a dispute in Mastic Friday evening. Credit: James Carbone

A Mastic teen was denied bail Sunday on manslaughter charges in a stabbing death during an argument Friday evening.

Michael Dennis, 19, made his first court appearance Sunday. He was ordered held without bail or bond during his arraignment in First District Court in Central Islip. He did not enter a plea because the case is being referred to a grand jury this week.

Suffolk County prosecutors said Dennis was involved in the fatal stabbing of Trevor Bender, 17, shortly after 5 p.m. at Mastic Road and Moriches Avenue.

The two teens had an ongoing dispute and the car Bender was riding in was stopped in traffic in front of Dennis' house, said Dennis' attorney, Philip Murphy. He said Dennis' sister instigated the fight when Bender got out of the car.

Prosecutors said Dennis ran back into his home to get a knife. The driver with Bender took a hammer from the trunk of the car when Dennis stabbed Bender once in the chest, authorities said.

Murphy said prosecutors were not seeking murder charges based on the injuries. He said Bender suffered one puncture wound, which shows intent to cause physical injury, but not death. The knife has not been recovered.

Suffolk County homicide detectives questioned Dennis on Saturday morning, when he gave police a false name and date of birth, prosecutors said. He was later identified by a photo.

Dennis made no admissions or written statements when questioned by police, Murphy said. Dennis' family is primarily in Atlanta.

About 20 of Bender's family members sat in court during the arraignment and nodded in approval when Dennis was denied bond. They did not comment after the hearing.

Dennis has a lengthy arrest record dating to when he was a juvenile and recent arrests for petty larceny, menacing and contempt, prosecutors said in court Sunday. Murphy said Dennis has no criminal convictions.

Dennis waived his next court appearance this week and is expected to be arraigned next week on a formal indictment.

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