A man with an extensive felony record has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder after stabbing another man aboard a CTA Blue Line train. At the time of the stabbing, the man was on bond for another case.
Police say that the attack was not random, but that the two men appeared to know each other. Earlier in the evening, the men were seen together on surveillance footage purchasing liquor from a store. The defendant withdrew money from an ATM. Later that evening the defendant fell asleep aboard the train and his companion, the victim, attempted to reach into his pocket. The defendant then pulled a knife and began slashing and stabbing the victim. The victim died of his injuries. The defendant is now facing first-degree murder charges.
Police say that the defendant got off at the next stop and left his companion to bleed to death. He was found by another passenger and the matter was referred to the police. The defendant, meanwhile, ended up at a hospital the next day for a condition unrelated to the stabbing. There, he became aggressive with hospital staff who matched his image to a police bulletin concerning the stabbing.
Can You Stab Someone for Attempting to Rob You?
The answer to this question is unclear. Self-defense in murder trials is not an easy way to go. As with most affirmative defenses, you essentially admit to the facts of the crime, but claim you had legal justification for causing the death of another person. In a case like this, you would claim that you were defending your property. If the robber was armed at the time, you would have a good claim for self-defense. If the robber was trying to pick your pocket as you slept and you woke up and interrupted the theft, you have a duty to refrain from stabbing if the robber ceased the robbery attempt after being caught in the act.
Logistically, the individual would need to feel as though their life was in danger or that they would be injured if they failed to capitulate to the robber’s demands. In this case, it is unclear that the robber had a weapon and that he would have persisted in the robbery attempt once he was caught. He is almost certain to have stopped the attempt once the victim pulled a knife.
When it comes to the defense of property, you must employ the least aggressive means of defense. That means that you cannot continue a violent assault against someone after you caught them. It means that they must still be in the act of robbing you when the self-defense occurred. You cannot continue to stab them until they are dead.
So, self-defense might be a stretch, but manslaughter or second-degree murder is not. In a case like this, the defendant did not have time to plan the attack, it was more of a reaction. This case could plea down, but with priors, the defendant will likely remain in prison for a long time.
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David Freidberg represents the interests of those charged with serious criminal offenses such as murder. Call today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.