Family of man stabbed at popular Salt Lake City bar speaks out

Mar 21, 2018, 11:02 PM | Updated: 11:07 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The wife of a man injured in a stabbing at a popular downtown bar said Wednesday the attack was unprovoked.

Lilia Ochoa said her husband, Fernando, was simply doing his job Tuesday night as a dishwasher at Whiskey Street, 323 S. State St., when another dishwasher attacked.

“An 8-inch knife went to the middle of his kidney and the lung,” Ochoa said. “The (surveillance) video catches where (the other dishwasher) picks up the knife and tries to stab him again.”

Workers at the bar ultimately detained the employee with the knife, subsequently identified as Austin Graff-Liley, 24, until police arrived.

Ochoa said Wednesday night that her husband likely would be in the hospital for several more days.

“It (would have been) just this much to puncture any of his organs,” she said, marking less than an inch between her finger and thumb. “My husband doesn’t deserve this. He still wakes up crying. He’s been violated, attacked.”

Police initially said some sort of argument led to the stabbing, something Ochoa disputes.

“The (surveillance) video shows my husband did not attack him verbally, physically,” Ochoa said. “I don’t know what snapped in this kid’s mind.”

Salt Lake City Police Det. Robert Ungricht said the matter was still under investigation.

A manager at Whiskey Street declined to comment.

Graff-Liley was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Tuesday night on suspicion of aggravated assault and was being held Wednesday on $10,000 cash-only bail.

Court records showed that Graff-Liley was charged last month with battery, a count to which he pleaded not guilty.

He also was charged last year with assault, but the case was dismissed.

Ochoa said she’d like to see Graff-Liley charged with attempted murder.

“I hope he gets the help that he needs, but you make a wrong decision in this world, you have to pay the consequences,” Ochoa said.

Ochoa said she and her husband have four kids, and her husband works three jobs to make ends meet.

The family set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for medical bills.

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Family of man stabbed at popular Salt Lake City bar speaks out