Criminal Defense in Orange County

Murder or Self Defense? Attorneys Debate O.C. New Year's Eve Stabbing

Early last New Year's Eve, a Dana Point man was arrested for a stabbing that led to the eventual death of an Air Force veteran from Mission Viejo. The defendant's attorney is claiming that his client acted in self-defense and therefore the second-degree murder charges should be dropped. According to police reports, the defendant was at a Hilton when he began to act in a rude and foolish way. The defendant flicked his cigarette into a crowd of people who were exiting the hotel. The defendant's attorney claims that this was not intended to provoke any type of altercation.

After the defendant flicked his cigarette, a man from the crowd turned to him and said "Dude, relax." According to witness testimony and police reports, the defendant then turned to the man who confronted him and proceeded to push him, then cut him and then finally fatally stab him in the chest. A bystander attempted to step in to stop the fight from escalating, but he was also stabbed by the defendant in the back.

The defendant's attorney made the argument that the victim was guilty of throwing the first punch, and that the defendant was purely acting out of self-defense. The victim was, after all, a former serviceman trained in combat. After the eventual stabbing, the defendant ran away. The defendant's attorney also claimed that this was an act of self-defense so that he could avoid further "pummeling" from the Mission Viejo man and his friends.

The opposition continued to argue that it doesn't matter who threw the first punch, but that the defendant simply pulled out his knife to stab the man in order to protect his ego in a fight that he knew he couldn't win otherwise. The defendant's attorney continued to argue that his client only reacted, rather than initiated the deadly altercation. If the man was truly acting in self-defense, was he required to make it clear that he didn't want to fight?

In cases such as this, every detail matters. Particularly important to this case is how much do intentions matter? The jury trial is still ongoing in Orange County Court, but the defendant's intention behind the stabbing will likely be one of the most important factors in determining his guilt or innocence. Another important factor that this case will likely touch on is how much does "who started it" matter? If it truly does matter who threw the first punch, such as the defense is stating, then the Dana Point man may not be convicted of second-degree murder.

In cases like this, it is incredibly important to secure the help of a defense attorney with skill and an advocate that you can trust. To learn more about procuring a strong defense against your charges, please contact an Orange County criminal defense lawyer from our firm.