Defendant in park west stabbing takes the stand – daily reflector gastroparesis


Witnesses testified last week that Rouse, Wade and O’Neal were involved in a tussle in a field not far from the apartment complex where they lived. Neighbors told police that Rouse was seen running with his cellphone out as Wade and O’Neal chased him down and tackled him to the ground.

O’Neal testified on Tuesday that he was an unemployed stay-at-home dad who was taking care of his two-year old daughter while his girlfriend, Zatashia Taylor, worked at Arby’s. He said that he recently had lost his job due to transportation issues and that Taylor took the GREAT bus back and forth to work.

“I had missed a call from Chenitra and when I called her back, she answered, and I heard heavy breathing,” he said. “Then she said, ‘This guy is out here chasing me.’ She asked me where I was at. So, I came quick and I got in the truck and headed back to Park West.”

“I pulled the car near Kimberly Sutton’s apartment,” he said. “And then I see this guy for the first time. He came around to the driver’s side. He said, ‘I’m not talking; I’m stabbing and killing.’ He looked angry and confused. He had glassy eyes and he was wearing dark clothes. I laid keys in the console and I grabbed a small brown pocket knife. I approached Mr. Rouse. I just wanted to talk and diffuse the situation.

“Curt asked, ‘What is going on? Then Rouse started running,” O’Neal said. “I was concerned for the kids and the women. I started running beside him. I was scared and confused at the same time. As we were running in the field, the field was bumpy and we ended up stumbling near some bushes and trees.”

“Steven hit a tree and bounced back and landed on top of me. He had the knife above his head. I felt the knife going in my shoulder. I felt like he was trying to kill me. I was just trying to get the knife out of his hand. I grabbed his wrist to squeeze and get the knife out of his hand. We were rolling around on the ground. He was trying to stab me again, so I punched him in the mouth. As we were fighting, I grabbed my pocket knife and I raised it above me and stabbed him in the upper chest. I had no other choice but to get him off of me. After I stabbed him, I tried to shove him off of me. I managed to stab him again.”

“Mr. Rouse was still yelling and Curtis told him to shut the (expletive) up,” O’Neal said. “Curtis helped pick me up and take me to the truck. My body was in shock. Mr. Rouse was still putting up a fight. He was rocking and bobbing side to side, standing up. I just heard yelling.”

O’Neal said that Wade, Taylor, Gambry and Amber Sutton all got into Gambry’s vehicle and went to the hospital. O’Neal testified that the truck traveled a short distance before he got out of the Jeep and took of his hoodie and shirt off to show where he’d been stabbed. He said that Curtis used the bloodied shirt to put pressure on the wounds in his back as they drove to the hospital.

“Police asked me to come downtown to give a statement. I told police part of the story but not the whole truth,” O’Neal said. “They told me around 1 or 2 a.m. that Steven was dead. I lied because I was scared. They wouldn’t believe anything I said. Police wouldn’t believe me if I did tell the truth.