The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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March 19, 2014

Wife says slain man’s hand was at husband’s throat

PINEVILLE, Mo. — Ashley Marcum testified Wednesday that Kevin Anderson held the upper hand in a fight with Boyd Marcum and was choking her husband when he pulled out a pocketknife and stabbed Anderson in the heart.

Taking the witness stand on the second day of her husband’s trial in McDonald County Circuit Court in Pineville on a charge of second-degree murder, Ashley Marcum said Anderson, 29, entered the house where they were staying the night of Sept. 30, yelling and cussing at her husband.

“He went straight to Boyd,” she said.

Her husband had come inside moments earlier and was lying on the couch with her when Anderson burst in through a back door and attacked Boyd Marcum, pushing his head toward a window, she said. The two men grappled, and Anderson shoved her husband toward the front door and began choking him with a hand to his throat, she said.

The defendant’s wife said that she and Brittany Wilkins, a friend toward whom Anderson had been making advances that night, were yelling at the two men to stop fighting. The Marcums’ three preschool-age children were in the room at the time.

“I was screaming and crying,” Ashley Marcum recalled.

Her husband was having trouble fighting back because he couldn’t breathe with Anderson’s hand at his throat, she testified. Finally, he “broke free and grabbed his pocketknife” from his jeans, although she did not immediately realize that was what he had done, she told the court.

She saw his hand move toward Anderson’s ribs but did not see the knife or realize that he had stabbed Anderson until several moments later, she said. But she testified that Anderson never let go of her husband’s throat until after he was stabbed.

Marcum’s wife was called by public defender Marshall Miller as the first witness for the defense after Prosecutor Jonathan Pierce finished presenting the state’s case.

Dr. Keith Norton, the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy, testified that Anderson died of a single stab wound 3 inches deep that entered the left side of his chest, passed through the rib cage and into the muscular wall in the middle of his heart.

The Anderson police chief told jurors that investigators found a 17-inch-long pool of blood on the floor of the living room, with blood trails leading to the home’s bedroom and out the front door. Police found Anderson collapsed on the front porch of a house down the street.

Officer Seth Daniels testified that Boyd Marcum came walking up to him after police arrived at the scene saying: “I did it. It was me. I did it.”

Daniels told the court that Marcum not only gave himself up and admitted his involvement, but also handed over the pocketknife.

Pierce called Craig Ruble and Megan Banks, the couple in whose home the stabbing took place, to tell how the Marcums and their children had been sleeping in the living room of their house for about a week and that their presence was beginning to wear on them. Anderson, who was Ruble’s closest friend and had come over the previous night and slept on a mattress in their garage, had let the Marcums know that they were overstaying their welcome.

The couple testified that Anderson was drinking the night he was killed and flirting with Marcum’s wife and Wilkins. He had managed to get both women to give him their underwear, although Ashley Marcum testified that it was actually Wilkins who asked her for her underwear and that Wilkins had passed it on to Anderson along with her own.

Ruble told the court that at one point, he stepped outside the house to offer Boyd Marcum and Wilkins some marijuana to smoke and caught them in the act of kissing each other. Later, Boyd Marcum, Wilkins and Anderson were lying together on the mattress in the garage and smoking cigarettes. Marcum went into the house, and Wilkins followed. That’s when Anderson became upset with Marcum, whom he felt was getting in the way of his interest in Wilkins, and stormed into the house after him.

Ruble and Banks had retired to their bedroom when the fight broke out in the living room and did not see what happened. But they heard the disturbance, and Ruble described for the jury how Anderson entered their bedroom clutching his chest with blood pouring out between his fingers and told them that he’d been stabbed. He then left the house in an apparent effort to get help.

Ashley Marcum testified that she did not see where her husband went in the immediate aftermath of the stabbing. She said her instinct was to see to the welfare of her children. Ruble came out of his bedroom yelling at them to get out of the house, and she gathered the children and took them to her mother’s place before police arrived, she said.

On cross-examination, Pierce questioned whether her statement that her husband “broke free” from Anderson and grabbed his knife contradicted her claim that the slain man never let go of her husband’s throat. While she admitted that the clarity of her memory of the struggle between the two men was probably about a 6 on a scale of 10 this many months later, she denied that she was hazy on who was choking whom or who held the upper hand in the fight.

Self-defense claim

THE DEFENSE HAS YET TO REST ITS CASE in the murder trial of Boyd Marcum, with the possibility that the defendant and Brittany Wilkins might be called as witnesses today.

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