- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

LEXINGTON, S.C. (AP) - A judge has rejected a ‘stand your ground’ defense for the suspect in the stabbing death of a Lexington County teen last year.

Multiple media outlets reported that Circuit Judge Thomas Russo has ruled that Kierin Dennis cannot use that defense in the stabbing death of Da’Von Capers in a restaurant parking lot after a basketball game.

Dennis is charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Dennis has said he feared for his life because Capers was trying to enter his SUV. Russo wrote that the claim is “not credible.”

Russo had heard from more than 20 witnesses to the deadly encounter during a hearing in November. Witnesses included current and former students at Dennis’ Lexington High School and Capers’ Dutch Fork High.

Defense attorney Todd Rutherford said the ‘stand your ground’ issues could be raised in an appeal if Dennis is convicted. He pointed out that if the South Carolina Supreme Court ultimately rules that Dennis was entitled to use the “stand your ground” defense and should not have been prosecuted, the trial will have been a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Rutherford also said, “Stand your ground depends on perception, and Kierin Dennis obviously perceived a threat.”

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