Witness: Wright and Colbert were “like two boxers meeting in the center of a ring”

In a 911 call played Monday at court, jurors in Ellsworth Colbert‘s murder trial heard a firsthand account of the altercation that led to Robert Wright‘s death last year.

Colbert, 57, is suspected of stabbing and killing Wright on March 4, 2012, after a dispute involving a pit bull named Macho.

A witness who placed the 911 call testified Monday that he initially felt the altercation between Colbert and Wright was amusing because of the age disparity between the two men. After the witness saw Wright fall face down on the pavement, though, the situation quickly turned serious.

“I didn’t think that this would resolve with somebody losing their life,” the witness said in Judge Herbert Dixon’s courtroom.

On the recording, the witness is heard asking a 911 operator for help.

I’m trying to report a stabbing; somebody just got stabbed,” he says.

Who was stabbed?”

Robert Wright.”

Do you know who stabbed him?” the operator asked.

I just know him by his nickname, Chub,” the witness said, adding that the man stabbed Wright with a knife.

During the trial, the witness said that Colbert approached him carrying a walking stick and an open-blade knife and complained that Wright had allowed Macho to defecate in Colbert’s yard.

Wright disagreed with Colbert’s accusation, and he made a comment about Colbert’s family, prompting Colbert to lunge at Wright and cut him on his neck, the witness testified.

Colbert then turned to walk away, while Wright dropped Macho’s leash and retrieved a shovel from the side of the witness’s house.

According to testimony, as Colbert walked away he repeatedly yelled, “I’m gonna get my son to f— you up.”

After Wright returned from the side of the house carrying a shovel, he and Colbert squared up in the middle of the street outside the witness’s home in the Penn Branch neighborhood of Southeast D.C.

It was like two boxers meeting in the center of a ring,” the witness testified.

The two men swung at each other, Colbert with his walking stick and Wright using the shovel. Then Colbert tackled Wright.

Colbert and Wright tussled in the street. But after Wright stood up, he took a couple steps, yelled, “You gonna stab me?” and then fell face first on the sidewalk, according to trial testimony.

An autopsy later revealed cut wounds on Wright’s neck and left hand, and stab wounds to his back, abdomen and chest, one of which punctured his aorta.

On Monday, Damon Colbert—Ellsworth Colbert’s son—testified that he and Wright had a brief altercation 20 years ago, which resulted in Damon punching Wright to the ground. Damon Colbert also testified that his father’s nickname is Chub.

The trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday morning in Judge Dixon’s courtroom.

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