'I bit a portion of his nose off': Man describes alleged attack
An attempted bicycle theft that turned into a violent attack left an Anchorage man with multiple stab wounds and put his alleged assailant in the hospital.
John Sponaugle returned home from his hospital visit Wednesday and was planning to go back to work in the afternoon, while police say the man who attacked him not only failed to get away with Sponaugle's bike but ended up being seriously wounded himself.
"Weird things happen. You just gotta take it in stride," said Sponaugle.
He says his wife woke him up suddenly in the early morning hours to tell him someone was outside their RV, and when he went out to check, he saw a man police have identified as Robert Russell, 38, attempting to take his bike.
"And as I approached him, he actually attacked me," Sponaugle explained, "There was a few punches thrown and he latched hold of my arm, started biting me, and I basically yelled out, 'Oh, you wanna bite?' and I bit a portion of his nose off. I couldn't see a piece hanging, but I do remember spitting a piece out."
Sponaugle has several scratch marks and three stab wounds that required medical attention, though he's not sure what kind of object was used to stab him.
Russell is now facing a felony assault charge and is still receiving treatment at the hospital, according to Anchorage Police.
When asked if he ever thought he'd bite someone's nose, Sponaugle responded, "I have thought about it. [...] I've been in a lot of fights. It's something that I thought would get a guy's attention."
He went on to clarify that he hadn't gone looking for a fight and was defending himself.
"It was survival. And this person's trying to steal my property. [...] I was just mad that he was biting me, so I just reacted. And I didn't even really mean to get his face that position to where it just happened to be his nose was right there. I would have just bit him to give him a dose of what he was giving me," said Sponaugle.
He said once he and his wife had subdued Russell, the man asked them to let him go.
"He started begging for us to let him go and stated that he would pay me on Saturday, and so I'm like, 'You're here stealing my property and you're trying to hurt me, so no, you're not gonna be paying me on Saturday,'" said Sponaugle.
To his knowledge, Sponaugle said the now-detached portion of Russell's nose was not recovered. He also said he doesn't care whether Russell is prosecuted, as he believes the injury to his nose is punishment enough.
"He's gonna think of this for the rest of his life," he said, later adding, "I wouldn't care if they let him go tomorrow, but I don't want him to come back to me."
Sponaugle said he's taking preventative medication because an APD officer told him they confirmed Russell has Hepatitis B. He's also getting tested for HIV.
"I'll survive and I'll keep my nose to myself," he said.
APD has a warrant for Russell's arrest with an assigned bail of $1,000 cash. His initial court appearance in the case is not yet scheduled.
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