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Ivanov, accused of slaying after text exchange, held without bond in Montgomery

Suspect stabbed man 15 times, prosecutor alleges.

A Montgomery County man was ordered held without bond Monday after new details emerged about an Independence Day killing that police say began with a text-message disagreement over a woman.

Pavel S. Ivanov, 24, stabbed Bryan Robert Hall twice near the base of his skull and continued the attack after Hall fell to the ground, stabbing him a total of 15 times, prosecutor Kathy Knight said during a court hearing. Hall died about 15 hours later at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

His brother James had gone to the hospital to be at his side but hadn’t been able to get a response.

“He just wasn’t there,” James Hall said in an interview. “There was nobody to say goodbye to.”

Bryan Hall had worked as a landscaper for a lawn-care company, his brother said, and seemed to take life’s little bumps in stride.

Pavel S. Ivanov (Montgomery County Police)

“He just wanted people around him to be happy,” James Hall said.

According to arrest records made public Monday, as well as Knight’s brief description of the case in court, detectives have pieced together the following events:

Sometime Thursday night or early Friday, Ivanov was at a party in Rockville with a woman. She began receiving text messages from Bryan Hall. Ivanov found out, became upset and began texting Hall. The two agreed to meet at a park about 2 a.m.

An argument ensued. Ivanov pushed Hall “to goad him” into fighting, Knight said. That prompted Hall to punch Ivanov in the face. Ivanov responded by trying to get Hall to punch him again, but Hall apparently wanted to let it go.

“He walks away,” Knight said in court, recounting how Hall headed toward a car.

Ivanov followed him and attacked him with a knife. Police were called and eventually spoke to a witness, who identified the assailant as Ivanov.

By this time, Ivanov had fled, ditched the knife, grabbed a shower and placed bloody clothes in a trash bag, Knight said. He put the trash bag in a car and drove off.

Police caught up with him and found the trash bag in the car, said Knight, an assistant state’s attorney.

“Clearly, the state’s case is a strong case,” she said in court.

James Hall said the version of events tracks his brother’s personality. He wouldn’t necessarily back down from someone, but neither would he escalate things. “He never looked for trouble,” James Hall said.

Kush Arora, an attorney for Ivanov at Monday’s hearing, said his client had no previous criminal background. Arora declined to comment after the hearing, saying it is too early in the case to do so.

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Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County. He arrived at the paper in 2005, after reporting stops at the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun and Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is the author of The Yoga Store Murder.



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