June 4, 2013
LIMA — A prosecutor said Tuesday a man slashed another man’s throat in an unprovoked attack that stemmed from an argument over a cellphone.
Bruce Bagley’s attorney, Bob Grzybowski, said his client was defending himself from another man when the incident happened. Grzybowski said Bagley acted in self-defense.
It will be up to the jury to make a decision that could send Bagley to prison for up to eight years. Bagley is charged with felonious assault in the June 27 throat slashing of Elwood Fletcher on Harrison Street.
Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Jana Emerick said Bagley was upset with a woman over a cellphone he believed the woman stole from him. That anger led to Bagley threatening the woman’s family, Emerick said.
Bagley, 50, noticed two of the woman’s family members in a car at a light near his home. He approached to argue with them about the cellphone, Emerick said.
During the argument, Fletcher came to the defense of his sister, who was outside the car arguing with Bagley, she said.
“Elwood walks up to Mr. Bagley and said if you’re going to pick on somebody pick on somebody your own size,” Emerick said.
Bagley makes a quick move with a knife in his hand slashing Fletcher across the throat creating an 8-inch gash, Emerick said.
Grzybowski said an argument preceded the stabbing and Fletcher initiated the first contact.
“Unaware of what Mr. Fletcher’s intentions were, Mr. Bagley had a small pocket knife in his pocket, pulled it out and slashed at Mr. Fletcher,” he said.
Grzybowski said it’s a classic case of self-defense. He said Bagley believed he was in danger and defended himself.
After the slashing, Fletcher ran across the street to Meat City and approached someone he knew. He asked that person to take him to the hospital, Emerick said.
Police found a knife with blood on it hidden in Bagley’s home that was sent to the crime lab. DNA testing confirmed it was Fletcher’s blood on the knife, Emerick said.
Emerick also promised to show the jury two video recorded interviews a detective conducted with Bagley in which Bagley told several stories about the stabbing. Initially, he denied it then admitted to stabbing Fletcher but said it was in self-defense.
Emerick said his final story does not match what witnesses said including three people who saw the stabbing occur.
But Grzybowski told the jury to watch the videos carefully and make their own decision as to whether Bagley was telling the truth.