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Roommate dispute over dirty apartment ends in stabbing at Durango lodge

Arnold Sarracino, 50, faces attempted murder charge

A dispute between roommates in west Durango about house cleaning turned violent last week, resulting in one man being stabbed multiple times.

Arnold Sarracino, 50, of Durango has been charged with attempted second-degree murder and booked into the La Plata County Jail. His roommate and alleged victim, Michael Obrien Nelson, 55, was taken to Mercy Hospital with life-threatening wounds.


The Durango Police Department responded to a call at 8:19 p.m. Jan. 31 of a semiconscious man who had been stabbed in the leg at the Wapiti Lodge, 21625 U.S. Highway 160 in west Durango. When DPD Officer Patrick Jackson arrived on scene he was met by Sarracino at the door of the men’s apartment. When Jackson entered the apartment he found Nelson wrapped in blankets on a bed to the right of the front door. There was blood on Nelson’s head and face, according to an arrest affidavit filed in La Plata County Combined Courts.

The affidavit went on to describe the following events.

Nelson, who appeared “highly disoriented,” did not fully respond when asked what happened. Jackson removed the blankets and discovered Nelson’s pants were covered in blood, as was the bed, and that there was a pool of blood on the floor below the bed. Jackson noticed at least three lacerations on Nelson’s left leg. Nelson told Jackson he wasn’t sure who stabbed him.

Emergency medical personnel arrived to care for Nelson and Jackson began questioning Sarracino, who sat in a wheelchair on the other side of the room. Sarracino said Nelson had arrived at their apartment injured, but when Jackson pointed out there was no blood outside the room, Sarracino admitted to stabbing Nelson twice and then pointed out the dresser drawer where he stashed the knife.

Sarracino told police that Nelson does not clean up after himself and that the two had been arguing over the cleanliness of the apartment. Sarracino said Nelson punched him in the face before he responded by stabbing Nelson. Sarracino was arrested and taken to Mercy for evaluation.

Sarracino was interviewed further by a detective at the hospital, where he said he and Nelson had been arguing and physically fighting for two days prior to the stabbing about the cleanliness of the apartment. Sarracino also acknowledged that he had called police out of concern that Nelson might die from the stab wounds. It was determined by hospital staff that Nelson had been stabbed about four times.

Nelson was listed in stable condition Monday at Mercy Hospital.


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