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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Man Claims Self Defense In Fatal Bowling Green Stabbing.

Witness: Man was 'swinging a knife'
Thomas charged withmurder in 2012 stabbing

Jurors weighing a murder charge against a Bowling Green man accused of fatally stabbing another man during a melee heard testimony Wednesday from several people present at the scene.
Stephan Thomas, 26, is on trial on charges of murder and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the death of Tyrese Huffman, 21, of Bowling Green.

Huffman was stabbed once in the neck with a steak knife June 9, 2012, during an argument outside 2055 Stonehenge Ave., Apt. D.
Bowling Green police said after the stabbing, Thomas tried to burn some of the clothes he wore during the incident.

A jury was seated Tuesday in Warren Circuit Court to begin considering evidence and testimony.
Thomas, who is represented by attorney John Stewart of Adams, Tenn., maintains he acted in self-defense.
City police, led by Detective Brett Kreilein, arrested Thomas after an investigation resulted in a scenario that had Thomas at odds with Dewayne Graves.
Graves was the on-again, off-again boyfriend of Shadee Hodges, who has a child in common with Thomas, Hodges testified Wednesday.
Graves and Hodges lived together at the Stonehenge Avenue apartment until about a month before the stabbing.

Thomas was at the apartment for much of the day leading up to the stabbing, part of a group of people who were drinking, smoking marijuana and taking Xanax, Hodges said.
The relationship between Graves and Hodges had volatile moments, Hodges testified. Graves sometimes physically abused her and damaged a window at her apartment by throwing a beer bottle through it, she said.

A couple of hours before the stabbing, Graves and Thomas had words, leading to Thomas chasing after Graves with a knife, according to prior testimony at a preliminary hearing.
At the trial Wednesday, witnesses recalled that Graves returned to the parking lot outside the apartment a couple of hours after the initial incident with Tyrese Huffman, Tyrese’s brother, Joe Huffman, and Darren Chamlee.

Chamlee testified Wednesday that Graves called him moments before and asked him to pick him up, along with the Huffman brothers, but added that he was not clear on the purpose.
“I knew (Graves) was having a problem with somebody,” Chamlee said when questioned by Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron. “He said some guys had tried to jump him earlier.”
The group returned to the parking lot, and Chamlee recalled seeing Tyrese Huffman and another man yelling at one another.

At some point, Chamlee unholstered a revolver that he routinely carried when he went out at night, and handed it to Joe Huffman, a convicted felon who is not allowed to possess a firearm.
Chamlee said he was not aware of the criminal records of any of his passengers, and that he aimed to go back to his SUV, drive up and get his friends out of the area before the situation could escalate, having seen Thomas with a knife.

Chamlee heard a scream as he walked and turned and saw Tyrese Huffman on the ground, bleeding profusely from his neck.
“I hoped I could get us out of there because I knew it was bad,” Chamlee said. “The guy was swinging a knife at Tyrese, so I wouldn’t say that’s a good situation.”
Chamlee was cross-examined extensively by Stewart about the gun, focusing on when in a series of interviews with city police detectives he disclosed the fact that he had a gun and brought it to the crime scene.

Chamlee said he did not disclose information about the gun in initial interviews at the scene because detectives did not raise the subject.
A city police detective came to Chamlee’s house the following day, and that is when Chamlee admitted having the gun, when either his mother or grandmother encouraged him to tell the truth to the police. At the encouragement of city police, Chamlee called Joe Huffman to ask what happened to the gun, but Huffman hung up, Chamlee said.

After the stabbing, Chamlee said he called his mother to tell her what happened, and she came by to pick him up and take him back to his house, leaving Chamlee’s SUV where he parked it.
Chamlee told Stewart he thought the police wanted to search his vehicle for his gun, which led Stewart to ask how the police would have known about the gun.
“I’m just trying to wonder why you left an expensive vehicle in an unfamiliar neighborhood,” Stewart said.
Hodges’ recollection of events had her making several trips to a nearby Wal-Mart during the day to buy things for her three children.
She encountered Thomas and Graves yelling at each other as she walked back from one trip, and Hodges said she chased after them and tried to grab Graves.
“I grabbed (Graves) by his shoulder, and that’s when (Thomas) struck Tyrese Huffman,” Hodges said. “I saw (Huffman) hold his neck.”

Hodges said she did not see Thomas with a knife or anyone else with a gun.
Hodges then left the scene, traveling with her children and friends to two separate apartments.
After the children were dropped off at Regency Apartments, Hodges ended up at a sparsely furnished place with Thomas at 1313 Kenilwood Way. She testified that Thomas had changed shirts between the stabbing and that incident but denied knowledge of Thomas attempting to burn his clothes.
“We were just talking about the situation at hand and how he messed up and he had to go,” Hodges said. “I pretty much figured out the situation went bad when I saw Mr. Huffman fall to the ground.”

When police converged on the apartment, Thomas hid in an attic and Hodges initially denied to police that Thomas was inside.
Police reportedly heard someone overhead and Thomas fell through the ceiling, according to prior testimony.

Hodges was warned three times by Warren Circuit Judge Steve Wilson to speak more loudly and threatened with jail time for contempt of court due to jurors struggling to hear her testimony.
The trial resumes today and is anticipated to continue through the end of the week.

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