A Maryland man was found guilty of assault on Wednesday for a road rage incident which ended with the stabbing of two people in the parking lot at Westfield Montgomery Mall.
David Benjamin Goldberg, 25, was found guilty of attacking Rachel Peterson, 28, and Clifton Botts, 31. All three live in Potomac.
According to police accounts of the incident in November, it started when Goldberg failed to come to a complete stop at a four-way stop sign outside the mall. Another driver honked. Goldberg yelled an expletive.
Peterson, who was driving another car with three passengers, including Botts, followed Goldberg from the intersection. At the next stop sign, Botts got out of the car and approached Goldberg before Goldberg sped away.
Then Peterson and her passengers parked at the mall and started to walk inside. Goldberg raced toward them in his car. He came close to hitting them, then got out of his car and stabbed Peterson and Botts.
“People are entitled to feel safe driving in a shopping mall parking lot,” State’s Attorney for Montgomery County John McCarthy said in a statement Wednesday. “Mr. Goldberg escalated what might have otherwise been a minor traffic dispute to a violent resolution.”
Goldberg’s defense attorney, Robert Bonsib, said that Goldberg acted out of fear that Peterson and her passengers wanted to harm him and his 2-year-old daughter, who was in the car with him.
Goldberg was acquitted of the most serious charges against him, attempted first- and second-degree murder, and instead found guilty of attempted voluntary manslaughter. His lawyer interpreted that as the jury’s concession that Goldberg intended to act in self-defense, even though he acted irrationally.
“This was clearly a direct rejection of the most serious charges that were brought against him,” Bonsib said. The jury “concluded that while he had a genuine fear based on the actions of the other individuals, his reaction to that was unreasonable.”
Bonsib said he hopes to convey Goldberg’s concern for his daughter to Judge Cheryl A. McCally at Goldberg’s sentencing in December. “This is a father who was very concerned about his 2-year-old daughter, and his actions were done to protect her,” he said.