LOCKPORT – Jennifer R. Marchant told North Tonawanda detectives the night she killed her boyfriend that the two had been drinking for hours and were wrestling over a cellphone when he started chasing her around their Oliver Street apartment.
In a two-hour video shown to the jury in Marchant’s Niagara County Court manslaughter trial Friday, the 24-year-old woman said that when Ralph D. Stone Jr. confronted her in the bathroom as she was brandishing a steak knife in her right hand, Stone said, “Stab me. Be the boss. Stab me.”
The former Internet pornography performer plunged the knife into Stone, 24, just below his left collarbone. He bled to death within minutes on the floor of the apartment on the night of Feb. 6.
Marchant claimed self-defense. Originally charged with murder, she now faces first- and second-degree manslaughter charges after a grand jury did not indict her for intentional killing. If the jury of 10 men and two women believes that the stabbing was justified, she will be acquitted.
Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said the prosecution is likely to rest its case Monday.
In a video of an interview Marchant gave in the early hours of Feb. 7 to two North Tonawanda detectives, Edward Smolinski and Lt. Karen Smith, Marchant offered three slightly different versions of Stone’s last words.
In the first version, Marchant said, “He was saying 'Stab me, stab me.’ So I turned around and [slight pause] just stuck him.”
The second time she went through her story, Marchant told the detectives, “I was standing in front of him and he said, ‘Go ahead and [expletive] stab me.’ ”
In the third and most elaborate version, offered as Smolinski was typing up her official written statement, Marchant said Stone was pulling her hair during the final bathroom confrontation.
“He said, ‘What are you going to do, stab me?’ He kept pulling my hair backwards,” Marchant said. “He’s like, ‘Stab me. Be the boss. Stab me.’ ” Moments later, she added, “Then he pulled my head back one more time and I stabbed him.”
Marchant said Stone had been drinking with friends in the apartment most of the day, and when Marchant and her friend Stephanie Dee showed up after skipping work that day, the two women faced off against Stone and his friend Ray Graney in two rounds of beer pong.
Dee testified that the men lost and drank twice as much as the women, and Graney actually passed out. She said Stone became angry, threw Graney’s shoes across the room and forced him out the front door.
Dee said she, Marchant and Stone then went to a nearby bar and split two pitchers of beer before she drove the couple back to Oliver Street. Dee said Stone was clearly drunk.
Marchant told the police that when the notion of going home was mentioned, Stone accused her of wanting to stay in the bar and look for other men.
At the apartment, Marchant, whose blood alcohol content was measured at 0.06 percent at the start of the police interview, became upset because Stone was texting someone.
She said she asked, “Who are you texting? Some girl?”
“And I grabbed the phone away from him,” Marchant said. She said she ran into the bathroom but Stone broke the lock and got inside. Marchant said she ran back toward the front door but Stone blocked her path, so she grabbed a knife in the kitchen, which is where the front door was located, and ran back into the bathroom.
Marchant told the detectives, “He gets drunk. He was” – and she dropped her voice to a near-whisper – “really scary.”
Officer Robert J. Frank, the second officer on the crime scene, said Marchant told him without being asked, “He was coming after me. I didn’t know what else to do. I thought he was going to kill me.”