LOCKPORT – When Jennifer Marchant stabbed her boyfriend to death Feb. 6, it wasn’t the first time she’d ever been accused of pulling a knife on a man, Niagara County prosecutors revealed Wednesday.
They want to tell the jury all about it when the North Tonawanda woman is tried on a first-degree manslaughter charge early next year.
However, defense attorney Dominic Saraceno said revealing the information about uncharged prior “bad acts” would be prejudicial to Marchant’s chances at trial.
The 24-year-old former Internet pornography actress told police she killed Ralph D. Stone Jr. in self-defense after the man allegedly assaulted her while drunk. The homicide occurred in the couple’s Oliver Street apartment.
Marchant was reported to police about three years ago for allegedly pulling a knife on another former boyfriend, and for assaulting him on another occasion, prosecutors Doreen M. Hoffmann and Lisa M. Baehre said in court Wednesday.
No arrest was made in either incident, but the prosecutors asked County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas’ permission to use the information in their direct case at trial, or, failing that, as ammunition in cross-examining Marchant if she takes the witness stand.
Saraceno said this information has nothing to do with whether Marchant has a legal self-defense claim in regard to the death of Stone, 24. Police said he was killed by a single stab wound with a 6- to 8-inch kitchen knife just under the left collarbone. He died at the scene.
As Stone was bleeding to death, Marchant was in the next room telling officers that she thought Stone was going to kill her. She said she ran into the bedroom to get away from him, but he entered and “threw me around,” officers testified in a pretrial hearing Sept. 25.
Saraceno said the allegations about the other man are too old and too unrelated to the killing of Stone for Farkas to allow their use as evidence.
Farkas said she will use a balancing test, weighing the prejudicial nature of the evidence against the value in proving Marchant’s guilt. She said she will issue a written decision in about two weeks and ordered the sides to return to court for another pretrial conference Dec. 11.