Man convicted of fatal stabbing
A jury has found Johnathan Skytonas Knight, 28, guilty of first-degree manslaughter in the stabbing death of Bruce Edward Ervin.
Ervin died of five stab wounds on Jan. 16, 2017, in an apartment in the 10700 block of N Western.
Knight, of Midwest City, faces a fixed sentence of four years in prison. He will be formally sentenced at a later date.
Attorneys on both sides of the courtroom agreed self-defense was the linchpin of the case. Defense attorney Clay Curtis didn’t dispute Knight stabbed Ervin, but he said the defendant had a right to protect himself.
An altercation began when Ervin arrived at the residence intending to attack Knight, authorities said. He began beating Knight and stomped his face into the floor before Knight’s girlfriend told him to stop, Curtis said.
Knight’s girlfriend formerly dated Ervin, and Knight was living with her in the apartment. Text messages between her and Ervin showed she intended to let him into her residence to attack Knight, Curtis said.
After the fight ended, Ervin went into a back bedroom while Knight retreated into the kitchen, where he picked up a serrated knife.
Another witness at the scene testified Knight circled around the apartment, calling for Ervin to come out of the bedroom. He eventually entered the bedroom and stabbed Ervin five times.
Prosecutors argued the break in between the fight and the stabbing disqualified Knight from claiming self-defense. Assistant District Attorney Ryan Stephenson said Knight no longer needed to protect himself by using deadly force once both men separated into different rooms.
“How many of those stab wounds are self-defense?” Stephenson said to the jury. “Legally, none.”
Curtis argued the threat to Knight’s safety was still ongoing. He pointed to witness testimony that reported Ervin swung a vacuum cleaner at Knight before the stabbing occurred.
“Johnathan Knight is the only victim in this case,” Curtis said. “Imagine a world where you’re attacked in your home by felons … and the state of Oklahoma says you don’t have the right to defend yourself.”