Prosecutors said that on Sept. 14, 2010, Terrence Lamont Allen, 38, of Anniston, killed Dimir Ranz Burton, 39, by stabbing him in the head with a knife. The incident occurred after Burton attacked Allen at the Car Exchange on Quintard Avenue, prosecutors said, where the two were employed. Burton and Allen had an altercation about a motorcycle that didn’t have working brakes, prosecutors and witnesses said.
After the stabbing, Burton was taken to Regional Medical Center and died five days later at Trinity Hospital in Birmingham. Prosecutor Randy Moeller, of the Calhoun County District Attorney’s Office, said the knife Allen used punctured Burton’s skull and struck the man’s brain.
Juror’s deliberated for nearly an hour before they informed Circuit Judge Bud Turner that they had not reached a decision and would resume in the morning.
Jurors Wednesday heard testimony from Allen. The defendant testified that he’d known Burton for 15 years and considered him a friend.
“He was known for being violent,” Allen said of Burton. “I didn’t think I’d get on his bad side.”
On Sept. 14, 2010, Burton and Allen got into an argument after Burton drove a for-sale motorcycle to put gas in it, Allen said. Allen worked as a mechanic and said his supervisor instructed him not to fix that bike because it would be sold as-is, he told jurors. The argument led to Burton swinging a tire iron and later a shovel at Allen outside the Car Exchange, Allen told jurors.
The fight was broken up by several employees, Allen said, and when he went back inside, Burton punched him multiple times. Allen testified that when he went back into the building he intended to call police. He also carried a knife with him.
“I felt like I didn’t want anybody to touch me,” Allen said.
Minutes later, Allen walked outside, saw Burton, ran towards him and stabbed him in the head with the knife, the man told jurors.
“I feared that he was about to do something bad to me again,” he said.
After the stabbing, Allen got into his car and drove to the Anniston Police Department and spoke to officers.
He was originally charged with assault, but after Burton died of his injuries he was charged with murder.
Several of Burton and Allen’s co-workers told jurors Wednesday that they witnessed the stabbing. They said the fight was over between the two men and Burton was facing the other direction when Allen ran up behind him and thrust the knife into his temple.
Burton’s attorney, David Johnston, told jurors during his closing arguments that Burton’s killing was not intentional and could not be called murder. Johnston said Burton was the aggressor in the fight and that Allen was defending himself.
“When someone is out of control and won’t stop what do you have to do? Defend yourself and that’s exactly what he did,” Johnston said.
Moeller told the jurors that Allen wasn’t defending himself based on the evidence and witness testimony.
“You cannot defend yourself against an unarmed person 25 feet away from you with his back turned,” Moeller said.
Prosecutor Sheila Field told jurors the argument between Burton and Allen escalated to dangerous levels. Field said Allen had the chance to drive away from Burton, before the attack began, and stated a “reasonable person” would have done so.
Sharlene Pettus, an alternate juror who will not decide Allen’s fate, said she felt after listening to testimony since Monday that Allen acted in self-defense.
Allen faces 20 to 99 years or life in prison if convicted of murder. The jury could find him guilty of manslaughter if they don’t believe he intentionally killed Burton, in which he could serve 10 to 99 years or life in prison.
Court will resume at 8:30 a.m.
Staff Writer Rachael Brown: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RBrown_Star.