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A 22-year-old West Bountiful man has pleaded not guilty to stabbing his teen relative in June while the victim was sleeping.

Mitchell Dean Howe, 22, is charged in 2nd District Court with attempted murder, a first-degree felony.

Howe entered the plea Tuesday in front of Judge Glen Dawson. A trial has not been set for the man, but a pretrial conference was scheduled for Feb. 5.

West Bountiful Police Chief Todd Hixson said in June that police were called to a home near 1200 North and 640 West around 1:30 a.m. on June 27.

When they arrived, police discovered Howe had allegedly stabbed a juvenile in the torso with a large knife while the boy slept. Hixon said he could not release how the two were related to one another, but said they were not brothers.

There was no prior incident involving the two that would have prompted Howe to stab the young man, Hixson said.

"It wasn't anger-driven, there was no fight," Hixson said. "They get along, and like each other."

The boy was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

No one else was threatened or harmed, Hixson said, though another young child was sleeping next to the victim when he was stabbed.

Prior to Tuesday's not-guilty plea, Howe's attorney, Angela Elmore, had argued that the man was not competent to stand trial on the charge. She detailed in a petition filed in July that Howe had a history of mental health treatment for bipolar disorder, and was receiving mental health medications at the Davis County Jail.

However, after an evaluation by mental health experts, it was ruled that Howe was competent to stand trial.

Twitter: @jm_miller

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