Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Defense attorney: Fatal stabbing in Bensalem parking lot self-defense
Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Yes, Tyrone Lester fatally stabbed a 23-year-old Philadelphia man in June, but it was in self-defense, according to his attorney.
Public defender Laura Riba pointed out that Lester, 29, of Philadelphia, flagged down a police officer after fatally wounding Miguel Feliciano when a child custody exchange turned violent in the parking lot of the Salem Crossing complex in Bensalem on June 14.
During a preliminary hearing Wednesday for Lester, Riba argued that District Judge Joseph Falcone should dismiss the charges, including a general homicide count, against her client since the evidence — including a detective’s testimony — supported a self-defense case.
“It’s clear here Mr. Lester wasn’t the initial aggressor here,” Riba said.
But Bucks County prosecutor Tom Gannon countered that contrary to Lester’s initial statement to police that Feliciano pulled him out of his car, witnesses said Lester got out of his car on his own.
Detective Jack Gohl testified that Lester told him that Feliciano — who was much larger than the 5-foot, 3-inch Lester — approached him while he was seated in his Jeep at the complex on the 3500 block of Street Road waiting for a custody exchange between Feliciano and his ex-wife, whom Lester was dating.
Lester claimed Feliciano grabbed him out of the vehicle and started punching him, Gohl told the court. Lester managed to grab a sheath knife he kept in his Jeep and started swinging it at Feliciano in an attempt to get him off, the detective said he was told. Feliciano was stabbed five times, including fatal wounds to his neck, court records show.
Lester said that he saw blood and knew he injured Feliciano, so he and his girlfriend got into the Jeep and drove toward the Bensalem police station — flagging down a police car on the street and telling police what happened and that he was scared, Gohl said.
The detective added that after the stabbing Lester had what appeared to be an eye injury, which Lester said was the result of Feliciano attacking him, and he was covered in blood.
But some witnesses said Lester got out of the Jeep with the knife in his hand and confronted Feliciano, according to court documents. Another witness said that Lester pulled out the knife when it appeared he was losing the fight with Feliciano.
While being questioned by Riba, Gohl said Lester was afraid of Feliciano, who he said previously threatened him.
Falcone held Lester for trial on charges of homicide and possession of an instrument of crime. He remains incarcerated in Bucks County prison without bail.