A jury has acquitted a man of manslaughter in the death of a person who was stabbed in the heart.
Oklahoma County jurors, though, convicted Stacy Gene Bellis, 43, of assault with a deadly weapon in an assault on Kendra L. Woodward. He was accused of ramming his pickup into Woodward and the person who was later stabbed. The jury recommended life in prison late Thursday.
The Oklahoma City man will be sentenced Oct. 26 by District Judge Donald L. Deason.
The panel, which deliberated about seven hours, found Bellis not guilty of first-degree manslaughter in the July 4, 2011, stabbing death of Roman Acosta.
Acosta, 40, was stabbed during an altercation outside a house party at 5533 S Walker.
He died a few blocks away after getting out of a vehicle and collapsing.
Witnesses said Acosta came to the aid of another man after Bellis pushed him around and took $20 without permission.
Prosecutors argued that when Bellis was told to leave, he got in his truck and intentionally rammed Acosta and girlfriend Woodward. He stabbed Acosta in the heart with a sharp object when Acosta and a man named Jason Williams started punching Bellis while he was still in the vehicle.
Bellis' attorneys argued that Bellis intended to drive away, not run down the victim or his girlfriend, and acted in self-defense when Acosta and Williams broke the truck's windows and started beating him.
“At that point in time he had no intention of hurting anyone,” Assistant Public Defender Robin McPhail-Bruno told the jury. “He had every intention of saving his own hide.”