Jury begins deliberations in 2002 fatal stabbing

22-year-old son of former local TV reporter slain

December 09, 2003|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore Circuit Court jury spent hours yesterday deliberating whether the fatal stabbing of the son of a one-time noted local television personality was murder or an act of self-defense.

Corey Bennett -- the 22-year-old son of former WBAL-TV feature reporter Ray Bennett -- was stabbed in the chest in April last year outside his girlfriend's house in the 1600 block of Presbury St.

Samtoya Williams, 31, is charged with first-degree murder in the killing, which prosecutors said was committed during an argument over a woman. The defense argued that the slaying was justifiable.

"It was self-defense -- complete, total, 100 percent self-defense," said Williams' lawyer, John Sinclair Denholm. "If a person is attacked, he does have a right to defend himself."

But prosecutor Jennifer Sites told the jury in her closing argument that the defense's version of the killing was physically impossible because of the angle of the stab wound.

Sites said if the two men were rolling on the ground and fighting in the way the defense contends, it would have been impossible for Williams to stab Bennett at a downward angle into his chest.

"There is not one shred of evidence to support that Mr. Williams was defending himself," Sites told the jury. "In layperson's terms, the defense is asking you to say this is OK -- it's all right to take someone's life."

Jurors began deliberations about 2 p.m. yesterday. Judge Ellen M. Heller sent them home at 5:15 p.m. They will resume today.

Bennett's girlfriend, Nashon Logan, testified last week that Bennett frequently hit her.

She said she was unsure who killed Bennett, a statement that contradicts what she told police in the days after the killing. At the time, she told detectives that Williams, whom she considered a brother, killed Bennett.

According to her testimony, she and Bennett were in her bedroom at 10 p.m. when Williams rattled the door. Logan went to the door and peeked out, after which Williams pulled on her arm -- causing Bennett to become angry.

The two men started fighting before Bennett walked out of the house with Williams following. The defense contends Bennett had a bat and hit Williams; the prosecution contends Bennett was unarmed and that he did not strike Williams.

Bennett was stabbed seconds later, according to testimony.

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