LOCKPORT – Jennifer Marchant, the North Tonawanda woman who claims she killed her boyfriend in self-defense, may be cross-examined regarding her physical confrontations with two other men, Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas ruled last week.
Farkas barred the prosecution from using the information in making its direct case to the jury at Marchant’s upcoming manslaughter trial.
But if Marchant takes the stand to bolster her self-defense claim, the prosecution will be allowed to confront her with charges that she pulled a knife on a previous boyfriend and assaulted another after he announced he didn’t want to date her anymore.
Marchant, 24, was not arrested in either of those alleged incidents.
The former Internet pornography performer stabbed Ralph D. Stone Jr., 24, in February in the couple’s Oliver Street apartment.
According to police testimony in pretrial hearings, Marchant told officers that Stone was drunk, chased her around the apartment and “threw me around.”
Prosecutors sought Farkas’ permission to tell the jury about an alleged incident on New Year’s Eve, 2010, in which Marchant purportedly pulled a knife on a boyfriend, threatening “to stab [him] if he attempted to block her exit,” Farkas wrote, quoting the prosecution motion.
In the other incident, on Oct. 13, 2008, Marchant “punched [a man] in the head, kicked and pushed him, after [he] told the defendant that he did not want to date her again.”
Farkas wrote that she didn’t know the full circumstances of either uncharged incident, and at any rate, both men were unconnected to the Stone case.
“The court has no way of assessing whether the defendant was the primary aggressor in these situations,” the judge wrote. “The introduction of such evidence would create an unacceptable risk that the defendant would be convicted on the basis of a perceived propensity to use violence toward her boyfriends.”
Farkas concluded that the 2008 and 2010 incidents wouldn’t help prove what Marchant’s state of mind was during the fatal incident with Stone.
The sides are scheduled to return to court for a pretrial conference Dec. 11.