The then-18-year-old South Carolina man who was accused of stabbing a student at a rival school following a basketball game in 2014 returned to trial this week, according to The State.
Kierin Dennis, a 2013 graduate of Lexington (South Caorlina) High School, was charged with stabbing and killing 17-year-old Dutch Fork High School (Irmo, South Carolina) senior DaVon Capers in February 2014, according to WIS-10 News.
After a basketball game between the two rivals, Dennis allegedly stabbed Capers in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant located a few miles away from Lexington High, where the game took place.
Dennis, who was 18 at the time, is now 24.
That much, it seems, the prosecution and defense agree on.
Dennis’ attorneys are invoking the “Stand Your Ground” argument into his defense, according to The State.
They are arguing that the stabbing occurred in self-defense and that Dennis was surrounded in the parking lot of the restaurant as he tried to leave.
The schools’ basketball teams matched up twice in 2014, on Jan. 24 at Dutch Fork and less than a month later, on Feb. 17, at Lexington.
After tensions ran high at the first, twice the number of law enforcement officers were at the second.
Dutch Fork won both matchups. After the February game, some students argued in the parking lot before leaving, according to WIS-10.
Some students from both schools then went to Cook Out, a fast food restaurant in Lexington.
The events that took place in the parking lot at Lexington High and outside Cook Out are disputed between the prosecutors and defense.
According to defense attorney Nicole Simpson, restaurant surveillance video shows Capers walking past Dennis five times without any exchange of words, according to The State.
As more students showed up, tempers flared. Thirty or 40 students were inside, Simpson said. At this point, Dennis decided to leave.
As he got into his car, people surrounded him and threw insults and trash at him.
Simpson said Capers leaned into Dennis’ window, and Dennis stabbed him with a knife he uses for fishing.
“How close is too close?” Simpson asked at the trial, according to the State. “How close should a person that you don’t know, never met before, no prior history, be allowed to get to your window in your car in a threatening and aggressive manner?”
But prosecutors allege Dennis had planned the stabbing while still at the school.
A former student told WIS-TV he heard Dennis shout “Meet us at Cook Out, I got something for you,” before he drove away from the Lexington High parking lot of the high school.
Eleventh Circuit Assistant Solicitor Rhonda Patterson argued in court that Dennis “had a plan with his buddies to start trouble and it didn’t stop until trouble was had,” according to The State.
Dennis first stood trial in 2016, but it was declared a mistrial after the jury remained deadlocked.
Now, he will once again have the chance to argue that the stabbing was within his rights and that he was defending himself.