When 22-year-old Daren Vaughn stabbed his best friend and neighbor Tyrell Swann on Sept. 27 2012 in the chest, piercing his heart, it was self-defense and not in cold blood, his defense attorneys say.
Whether or not that’s true will soon be up to jurors; the trial began Thursday with opening statements from both sides. Prosecutors asked the jury to find Vaughn guilty of first-degree premeditated murder while armed, felony murder and other related weapon and assault charges, stating that the evidence in the trial will prove these charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Vaughn was indicted on June of last year and has awaited trial in custody without bond since his arrest the day of the incident when he turned himself in to police after they knocked on his door.
“That was my man, I didn’t mean to to do it. I give up,” said Vaughn, according to Officer Matthew Fitzgerald who testified Thursday.
During opening statements, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Bradford, said that on the night of the incident Swann and Vaughn got into an argument in the backyard of an apartment in the 500 block of 50th Place Northeast.
The argument escalated and resulted in Swann beating up Vaughn and smashing him against a window.
“Tyrell hit the defendant,” said Bradford, “He gave him a butt whooping. He hit him once and hit him again.”
Bradford said that after the fight Vaughn left through the backyard to his apartment two doors down and came back with a knife.
“He was not going to accept that his friend beat him up like that,” Bradford said.
Defense attorney Jacqueline Cadman paints a different picture stating Vaughn, who was dating Swann’s sister at the time, went home but decided to come back to the house because he was confused about what
had just happened.
“He went back to speak to his girlfriend, not to get payback,” Cadman said. She told jurors that Vaughn deliberately went to the front of the house to avoid Swann but was greeted by Swann opening the door and swinging at him with a small chair.
Prosecutors describe the following altercation as Vaughn forcing his way into the apartment while Swann’s mother and sister stood between the two men begging Vaughn to leave. Prosecutors said Vaughn reached around Swann’s mother and stabbed him once in the chest, then left the residence without saying anything.
Cadman asked the jurors to pay close attention during Swann’s mother and sister’s testimony and to “find the inconsistencies,” of their story and that both their testimonies don’t make sense.
“He stabbed him one time, one time to get him off of him and then left. He did what any one of us are allowed to do, protect ourselves,” Cadman said.
Cadman told jurors the evidence will prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the stabbing happened outside of the home and was a split second decision by Vaughn.
The prosecution began their case today and is scheduled to continue Monday at 10 A.M.