(Stillwater, Okla.) In a verdict that surprised many courthouse observers, a Payne County jury acquitted an admitted drug dealer from Stillwater of criminal charges in the stabbing of two oilfield workers, who, the defendant testified, failed to pay him for marijuana.
The six-woman, six-man jury deliberated about two hours at the close of a four-day trial last week before finding Jordan Patrick Robinson, 20, a former Oklahoma State University student, not guilty of two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Robinson, who was 18 at the time of the early morning July 5, 2013, multiple stabbing of the men, admitted on the witness stand that he chased the men in his truck for about six miles before confronting them on a county road, but testified that he used his knife on them in self-defense.
One victim, Steven Kent, nearly died from multiple stab wounds and was flown to OU Medical Center in critical condition, authorities said.
Another victim, Christopher Blundell, who was stabbed three times in the back, was treated at Stillwater Medical Center, an affidavit said.
When the defendant was asked by his attorney why he pulled out a knife, Robinson said, “I was getting choked out and kicked.”
On cross-examination, Robinson admitted that he slept until 1:30 p.m. or 2 p.m. that day, while the victims got up at 5 a.m. and worked all day before eating dinner and going to the Blue Diamond Cabaret, prosecutor Debra Vincent pointed out.
Robinson also admitted that he had $200 worth of marijuana at a Stillwater apartment and conceded “I have sold (marijuana) to previous people.”
Telling the jury that he put marijuana in a truck occupied by the two victims and Michael Hardin, who did not testify, Robinson said he did not get his money — so he decided to chase them and told his male passenger to put his seatbelt on.
“I followed them because I wanted my marijuana back. I believed they were trying to get away with my marijuana,” Robinson testified.
During the fight, Robinson said he “felt he couldn’t get away from both (victims), he felt he was going to go unconscious.”
On cross-examination, Robinson admitted he never saw a weapon in the victims’ hands and had a male friend with him at the scene.
In jury instructions, District Judge Phillip Corley said “Evidence has been introduced of self-defense. The burden is on the state,” to prove that Robinson did not act in self-defense.
In her closing argument, prosecutor Karen Dixon told jurors, “Self-defense is permissible because of necessity. If you find he (Robinson) was the aggressor, that he provoked this fight, it doesn’t matter –unless he convinces you he backed out.”
“Neither Christopher Blundell nor Steven Kent made a deal with the defendant to buy marijuana. Michael Hardin made the agreement – his cell phone had the defendant’s number on it.
“The defendant was a seller of marijuana. There were three people in that vehicle. The defendant handed that marijuana to the occupants of that vehicle. The defendant chased them down. At any point, he could have stopped.”
Holding a knife with a large blade, the prosecutor said, “It is not a pocket knife. It is a dangerous, dangerous weapon.
“He was the aggressor. He was not justified in his actions.”
But in an extremely loud closing argument, lead defense attorney Royce Hobbs asked the jury, “Do you want to protect thieves – that’s what they are. Both of them were thieves.
“It was a marijuana theft. Is it any worse to possess marijuana and sell it than it is to steal it?
“They (the stabbing victims) came up with the story. They put all the crap on Mr. Hardin. They deny they committed a crime.
“I don’t think you as a jury is going to promote thievery.
“Blundell and Kent tell a story that makes them innocent – they didn’t steal anybody’s dope.
“It’s only when he (the defendant) has got no air and he can’t see anymore that the knife comes out and he uses it to try to get away.
“All he wants is to get his money or his property and he gets tackled again, ends up way over in the trees trying to get away.”
Emphasizing to the jury that the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the stabbings weren’t in self-defense, Hobbs asked the jury, “Who do you believe?
“If you want to believe the thieves, then find Jordan Robinson guilty.”
About two hours later, the jury acquitted Robinson.