LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - Testimony continued into its third day as a Lexington County jury is tasked with deciding whether a fatal stabbing of a Dutch Fork High School student in 2014 was done in self-defense.
DaVon Capers, 17, was fatally stabbed outside a Lexington Cook-Out restaurant in 2014, following a boys basketball game between Dutch Fork High School and Lexington High School. Investigators said, based on evidence and numerous witness statements, Kierin Dennis was arrested and charged with murder.
Since 2014, Dennis and his attorney Todd Rutherford have requested two “Stand Your Ground” hearings, arguing Dennis stabbed Capers after feeling threatened when a group of students surrounded his car as he was attempting to leave the restaurant.
On Thursday, several Dutch Fork High School students who were present the night of the stabbing testified students did not surround Dennis’ car and he had a clear pathway had he chosen to leave.
Their testimony mirrored much of what was said by other students earlier this week. They told the jury one of Dennis’ friends drove by a group of students and threw money out of his car window. Several students ran into the road to pick it up, when they said Dennis accelerated toward the students, braking before hitting anyone.
Upset over his alleged actions, several students, including DaVon Capers, approached the driver’s side window of Dennis’ car. The confrontation, captured on another student’s iPad video, shows a group of five or six students standing on the curb talking to Dennis who is sitting in his car.
“I was upset, like he had almost run over our classmates,” said Alexis Brunson, one of the students who approached Dennis’ window. “I wanted to let him know that wasn’t cool. You don’t do that. This is way more than a high school game at this point. You’re putting people’s lives in danger. I was trying to get him to go home.”
Shortly after, she said she saw Dennis’ right arm come out of the window. She thought he’d thrown a punch, but wasn’t sure who he hit.
“He didn’t seem worried or scared,” she said. “He was just more like ‘you don’t want what I have,’ hand in pocket.”
She told the jury Dennis drove off erratically, which was the same testimony given by several other students on the stand this week. She said she didn’t realize Capers had been stabbed until someone said something.
She also told the jury, prior to the incident, she was inside the restaurant sitting with friends, including Capers. She said, when Dennis and his friends walked in, she sensed the mood change in the restaurant.
“Everyone was happy and cheerful because we had won and you just know when people walk in and they’re looking to cause problems,” she said.
But under cross-examination, Rutherford played a portion of the surveillance video inside the restaurant, which appears to show Brunson walking into the restaurant after Dennis and his friends had walked in the door.
“So how do you know that the mood changed if you weren’t even inside when they walked in?” Rutherford asked.
Testimony is expected to continue on Friday. If convicted, Dennis faces a minimum of 30 years in prison.