Amtrak stabbing suspect in court Tuesday

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NILES, Mich. --- The man arrested for allegedly stabbing four people on an Amtrak train back in December was in court Tuesday.

The conductor of the train, Dontreal Bankhead, testified that he was stabbed several times by 44-year-old Michael Darnell Williams of Saginaw, Mich.

Bankhead said Williams first approached him near the cafe car where conductors relax. Williams asked a variety of questions, ranging from the amount of money housed on the train plus the number of employees working at the time. Bankhead suspected a robbery. Williams continued to chat, mentioning he felt threatened a few days before.

"He said he had three people that tried to kill him that week, and I asked him if he reported it. He said, 'no,'" recalled Bankhead. "And I said, 'Well, you have to report things like that.'"

Williams was traveling alone and appeared to be agitated, according to passengers on the Amtrak train that departed Chicago earlier in the evening.

Bankhead asked Williams if he wished to speak to someone. He said, "Yes."

Conductors alerted Niles Police, which met the train when it arrived at the scheduled stop.

"Once the officers arrived, my conductor -- my partner, met them on the ground and briefed them on what was going on, and they radioed me to bring Michael up," said Bankhead.

Williams stabbed Bankhead multiple times when he tried to escort the passenger off the train.

Up until that moment, the conductor described Williams as collected.

"Very calm, still mild, mild-mannered. Didn't show any means of aggression," he said.

Bankhead continues to recover from his injuries. Williams stabbed him in the neck twice, two times on the face, once in the rib cage, and shoulder.

Williams faces 12 charges. Among them are five counts of assault with the intent to murder.

A preliminary date for his jury trial was set for November 17.