An attorney for a Hill Air Force Base worker admitted Thursday his client stabbed an Ogden man but said the stabbing was done in self-defense.
Keith E. Mincy, 21, is charged with second-degree murder in the slaying of Lorenzo Thompson, 20, who was stabbed to death Sept. 23 on a downtown Salt Lake street.During opening arguments of the 3rd District Court trial Thursday, defense attorney Hans Scheffler said Thompson was a muscular man, 6 feet tall, 265 pounds, who was choking and beating Mincy's head against the street.
"He (Mincy) had a right to defend himself. He was attacked by a big, big man."
He told the six-woman, two-man jury that they would hear testimony that the victim was stabbed as he was walking away from the fight. But he said there were flaws in that witness's testimony that he would elaborate on later in the trial.
Deputy Salt Lake County Attorney Robert Stott said Thompson was not killed in self-defense but was killed after the fighting between the two had ended.
He said Thompson and two other Weber State College students drove to Salt Lake City to go dancing and were on their way to a party at the Marriott Hotel when they stopped near 115 S. West Temple about 1:30 a.m. to speak with some friends.
When the three went to leave, their car rolled back and almost hit a vehicle parked behind them that belonged to Mincy. Words were exchanged and a fight broke out among six people. At one point, the fight stopped but then heated up again and the combatants changed partners, Stott said.
Thompson and Mincy then began fighting in the middle of West Temple and Thompson apparently pinned Mincy to the ground. Stott said Thompson stopped the fight and began walking away when Mincy followed him across the street and then pulled a knife out of his pocket.
"He pulled out the blade, lunged and stabbed Mr. Thompson right in the chest, right in the heart. Then he pulled the knife out and lunged again," Stott said.
Thompson was rushed to the hospital, where he subsequently died from the stab wounds. "The only person to have and use a deadly weapon was Mr. Mincy," the prosecutor said.
Scheffler said Thompson was drunk and out of control when he jumped out of his car and began fighting with the others.
"He comes out swinging, no hesitation," Scheffler said. "He takes his belt off and starts chasing the little guy out in the street swinging his belt around."
Thompson wrestled Mincy to the ground and bashed his head into the pavement, he said. "Michael Springer (a witness) thought he (Thompson) was going to kill him."
Scheffler said, "There's no logical explanation why he would get off of Mr. Mincy and walk back to his car." The defense attorney said no one saw Thompson get up and walk away from the fight as the prosecution contends because he was stabbed in self-defense while he was pinning and beating Mincy.
The trial is expected to finish next week.