Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Armed Self Defense in Schoool: Student Who Stabbed Bully Not Guilty

On September 30, 2016, 18 year old, Donte Crawford, was found not guilty by reason of self defense in the death of another student, Ananias Jolley.  Crawford stabbed Jolley in a confrontation at school. The fight occurred on 24 November, 2015 at the Renaissance Academy in Baltimore. Jolley died a month later.

Donte Crawford had managed to smuggle a pocket knife into the school, in violation of school rules. Charges included "Possession of a deadly weapon with intent to commit injury." From wbaltv.com:
Donte Crawford, 18, was charged as an adult with first- and second-degree murder and carrying a dangerous weapon in connection with the stabbing of a classmate at Renaissance Academy on Nov. 24. Ananias Jolley, 17, died at Shock Trauma almost a month after the stabbing.

Witnesses said a fight that led to a stabbing in a biology lab started quickly and ended in seconds.

Crawford took the stand in his own defense, trying to explain to jurors what happened. In closing arguments, prosecutor Bethany Durand claimed Crawford brought a pocket knife to school on a mission to harm another student.
From the testimony at trial, it appears that Crawford initiated the confrontation.  He knocked Jolly down, and managed to get on top of him, stabbing him at least twice to the chest. Jolley's heart suffered at least two cuts. From the baltimoresun.com:
An autopsy showed Jolley was stabbed once in the left chest and that the left ventricle of his heart was cut, Durand said. He was then stabbed another time in the heart. He also had cuts on his right arm and hand.
Crawford was new to the school and had no support group, making him an easy target for bullying.  Witnesses said he had been bullied and beat upon for months.

The school is only 1 mile from where Fredy Grey was arrested for possession of a common pocket knife.

Little has been said about the knife.  It has been described as a "pocket knife" and a "pen knife". I have not been able to find any pictures of the knife. 

In the Old West, juries had a liberal view of self defense.  If two young men had been in altercations, had called each other names and made threats, if they got into a deadly fight, the death was usually ruled as self defense, no matter who initiated the immediate confrontation. This case indicates that juries may be returning to that point of view.

The bad neighborhoods of Baltimore and the Old West have something in common: the rule of law is unreliable.  In the Old West the law was often distant and unavailable.  In Baltimore, it is the Ferguson effect, where police are unwilling to risk life, job, and pension with a political system that demonizes them.  In the Old West and in the bad neighborhoods of Baltimore, people depend on their wits and weapons to survive.

Maybe the Jury recognized that.

You cannot survive the trial if you do not survive the fight.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Link to Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

I see this acquittal as based on errors committed by the prosecution. That is, they did not prosecute in the right way.

Note the facts: The attacker knocked the victim down, then got on top of him, after which he stabbed him. The vic tried to defend himself as evidence by the cuts on right arm and hand. Then the two knife wounds to the heart would have to penetrate through the ribs, likely 2 inches just to get to the surface of the heart. Maybe 3 inches to penetrate the left ventricle, which has thick muscle walls, so the blade would have to be narrow and sharp.

Note intent: There are knife slashes and stabs intended to wound, and there are those intended to kill. One stab to the heart among other stab wounds could be unintentional. Two stabs to the heart, and you intended to kill.

Next thing: How many times did the stabber approach the school faculty or administration about the bullying? I suspect none. And machismo is not a defense for murder. His bringing a knife to school and using it like he did strongly implies premeditated murder, not defense.

Both of them were in a program for "troubled" youth, but actions like this are typically seen in prison, not in school.

Anonymous said...

The point of self defense is be prepared, he was, he knew there was the possibility of being attacked, he had the right to stop that attack, How much of a beating does someone have to endure before they can take action? He did not start the fight. What if he had used a ball point pen instead of the knife? ball point pen legal for any one to carry and can be just as deadly if not more effective, meaning dead sooner. the bully died because the doctor did not repair the damage correctly. Years ago I knew someone that fell off his bed and landed on his hunting knife so the story goes. the ER doctor sewed up the surface cut and sent him home. the only problem was the blade had nicked his bowel. He went back to the hospital and had major surgery to repair that screw up. He was hospitalized for a month. by the time he was able to get back to the hospital he had a raging peritoneal infection. everything in his abdomen had to be cleaned and disinfected. 24 hours and he would have been dead and that was an accident. People die all the time because of incompetent doctors. I know I WORKED IN HOSPITALS FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS. I HAVE WORKED IN emergency ROOMS WHERE I HAD TO TELL THE DOCTOR WHAT TO DO NEXT TO SAVE LIVES AND REPAIR SEVERE DAMAGE. I went to one hospital looking for work, while being shown the facility. I had to work a trauma code. the doctor said , are you new here I have never seen you before. I said No I just came here today looking for work. He said don't worry you are hired. the person showing me around passed out cold on the floor at the sight of the blood. she should have been the one working the code. frankly I am terrified of having to be in a hospital. in that facility a doctor had two surgeries scheduled for the day. a 13 year old girl for an appendix operation and a 40 year old woman for a hysterectomy. He removed everything in the 13 year old and when the 40 year old came in he said what's going on this patient already has an appendix scar. he had the patients mixed up. I will never need a hysterectomy but I don't want to ever have to be operated on. Too many doctors just push pills and they get that screwed up. I know the doctors I would trust and none of them are around here. One local doctor killed my unborn child. he is lucky to be alive. My wife could have died If I had not known what to do. the practice of medicine is exactly that they practice until they get it right. that is why we have so many foreign doctors working in this country. If they made the mistakes in their own country that American doctors do here they would be killed. so they practice on Americans before they go home. One thing malpractice insurance can't do is bring you back to life. Doctors do get away with murder. Health care would be far less expensive if doctors were removed from practice like bad police officers should be removed from law enforcement. we would have a lot less dead people. we finally got rid of that surgeon. He shot his wife and went to prison. He had lost his prescription license for selling drugs. as an individual he was a perfect ass hole. I have worked with research doctors, very good trauma specialists and the worst our health care system has. If I were being physically attacked I would use anything I could get my hands on to defend myself If my hands and feet could not get the job done. You do not win a fight if they can come back. I at the very least make sure they never want more of me. I have never started a fight in my life but I have stopped several. to the point the police refused to arrest the attacker for felony assault because they did not want to have to pay the medical bills they would be responsible for after the arrest. 50 witnesses said he started the fight.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous one needs to realize. people do get beat to death. Recently a person was killed with one punch. assault can be a push. hitting can be deadly. Maybe I'm weird but I have been in so many of these situations. Luckily I was able to beat the tar out of the attacker without killing, He just wished he was dead by the time I finished. when you are being bullied you have to make them learn their lesson the attacker determines what response is required. If you think he is trying to kill you drop him like a hot rock. your concern is not for the aggressor. that guy will not be bullying any one else. the next victim might be beat to death. I worked a code once the guy had been beaten with base ball bats by four men. if it had been me there would have been four dead guys holding base ball bats. I would not think twice about it once they move towards me down they go with holes big enough to throw a base ball through. My grand father was threatened with a large knife once. he picked the guy up with one hand took the knife away from him stuck the full blade in his butt and broke the handle off. that guy never did come back and make any more threats. grandpa was 6 foot 8 inches tall. he never did like threats.