Fayette grand jury declines to indict blind man in fatal Lexington stabbing

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.comSeptember 25, 2013 

Steven Campbell, 22, died of a stab wound to the chest following a fight involving several people on Sept. 18.

A Fayette County grand jury has declined to charge a legally blind man in last week's fatal stabbing of a 22-year-old man, Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson said Wednesday.

There was evidence that the man who fatally stabbed Steven Campbell on Sept. 18 acted in self-defense, Larson said. The prosecutor did not elaborate.

"It was a very thorough examination that was done by the homicide unit of the Lexington police department. That evidence was presented to the grand jury, and the grand jury made their decision," Larson said.

Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said police have not publicly identified the man who stabbed Campbell — in what has been described as a fight involving several people — because he was not charged by police before the case was presented to the grand jury.

Campbell's mother, Theresa Parker, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that she didn't agree with the decision not to file criminal charges.

"It's not fair," Parker said. "It's not right."

Grand jury proceedings are confidential, so officials would say little about the case except to confirm the decision.

The stabbing, in the 1900 block of Mark Avenue, occurred about 10 p.m. Sept. 18, police said. Mark Avenue is in a neighborhood off Georgetown Road.

Campbell died shortly after the fight at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital of a stab wound to the chest.

Roberts said the case raised legal and moral questions.

"We presented the facts as we had them, and the grand jury made their decision," Roberts said. "The fact that the suspect was legally blind contributed to the ... moral and legal judgment call that needed to be made."

Larson said he isn't allowed to be in the room as the grand jury deliberates. "I have no knowledge about their deliberations," he said.

Manda Bentley, whom Campbell was set to marry in October, said Wednesday in a telephone interview that she was with Campbell when he was stabbed.

She said they had given friends a ride to Mark Avenue. She said Campbell's initial intention was to not become directly involved. She said he didn't attack first.

Bentley said after Campbell was stabbed, "I started screaming for people to help me and to call the ambulance."

A man gave her a shirt to press on Campbell's wounds, Bentley said. She said she tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation "to keep him alive" until an ambulance arrived.

Bentley said that based on her observations, she didn't think that the man who stabbed Campbell had vision problems that would warrant the grand jury not charging him.

"All we want is justice," Bentley said.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409. Twitter: @vhspears.

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