City man convicted of assault

Jury acquits him of attempted murder in Howard incident

August 22, 2008|By Tyeesha Dixon | Tyeesha Dixon,Sun reporter

A Howard County jury acquitted a Baltimore man of attempted-murder charges yesterday but convicted him of assaulting his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend in the same incident last year.

Kazeem Akinniyi, 26, testified during his three-day trial that he was defending himself against Jefferson Bolden, whom police discovered with several serious stab wounds to the face, back and chest early Dec. 23.

The jury convicted Akinniyi of second-degree assault and one count of reckless endangerment. He could be sentenced to 15 years in prison for the two convictions.

Prosecutors said that Akinniyi broke into the Columbia apartment of Sharon Johnson, Akinniyi's ex-girlfriend, then attacked Bolden, who was lying in bed with Johnson, in a jealous rage. Akinniyi then jumped out of the third-floor window to escape and broke his legs.

But Akinniyi said that Johnson invited him to her apartment and that when he got there, Bolden punched him in the face then tried to stab him before threatening him with a gun. He said he jumped out of the window in fear for his life.

Akinniyi was charged with attempted first-degree murder, which holds a maximum sentence of life in prison, attempted second-degree murder, burglary, assault and reckless endangerment.

During their closing arguments, the attorneys on both sides highlighted the inconsistencies of witnesses and lack of evidence regarding certain factors in the case.

Assistant Deputy State's Attorney Mary Murphy told the jury that Akinniyi stabbed Bolden because he was angry that Johnson had moved on and that the evidence didn't show any signs of self-defense.

"The problem he had was that the woman he was in love with was seeing someone else, and he had to take care of that problem," Murphy said during her closing yesterday.

Murphy also argued out that if Akinniyi's version were true and Bolden was accidentally stabbed in a tussle for the knife, Akinniyi also would have incurred stab wounds and not just injuries from jumping out the window.

"There are no other injuries to the defendant," Murphy said. "Why? Because this isn't self-defense.

"How possibly does a stab to the back occur during self-defense?" Murphy asked the jury, noting the four wounds on Bolden's back. "It's not logical. It's not reasonable. Because it did not occur."

In her closing argument, defense attorney Janette E. DeBoissiere pointed out the inconsistencies between Johnson's testimony in court and the statement she gave to police the day after the incident. When Johnson testified in court, she said that she did not remember much of what happened that morning, even after prosecutors asked her to read her written statement to police aloud in court.

"They put him here in this position," DeBoissiere said of Johnson and Bolden. "They set this up. Certainly we can't trust what they're saying."

DeBoissiere noted phone records that showed Johnson had called Akinniyi about 1 o'clock the morning of the incident, despite her account to police that Akinniyi showed up uninvited.

"If what Ms. Johnson wrote on Dec. 23, 2007, is true, then how can we explain, how can anyone explain, that phone call she made around 1 in the morning?" DeBoissiere asked the jury. "Those witnesses took the stand and lied to you."

Akinniyi is to be sentenced Nov. 13.

He faces another trial in Howard County, still unscheduled, on burglary and assault charges. In that case, Akinniyi is accused of punching Johnson, dragging her across the floor by her hair and assaulting her with a broom, all a couple months before the stabbing of Bolden occurred.

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