Woman on trial for boyfriend's death: Self-defense or cold-blooded murder?
GWINNETT COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -
A woman accused of fatally stabbing her boyfriend is speaking out for the first time only to CBS Atlanta News. She's on trial for felony murder but said she is not guilty of homicide.
TiQuonda Williams said her boyfriend, Tyress Malcom, was on probation for pistol whipping her when he allegedly came home drunk, and the pair got into a fight that would ultimately end his life.
Williams said that if she hadn't defended herself, she would have been the one who wound up dead. She said their nine-year relationship was marred by explosive fights and then fits of what Williams describes as love.
"I loved him unconditionally and we have a beautiful family together," Williams said. "It wasn't always bad. He wasn't always abusive."
The abuse was documented in a handful of police reports obtained by CBS Atlanta News.
In 2008, Malcom was arrested after he punched and chocked Williams, pulled out a handgun, pointed it at her head and threatened to kill her. In another case, he was accused of choking her until she was unconscious.
"I was afraid for my life. I was scared, shocked," Williams said.
Then in 2011, a final violent outburst suddenly changed both of their lives.
"She was defending her life against an individual who was willing to beat her with a pistol while she was pregnant with his child," said Williams' attorney, Musa Ghanayem.
Court records showed Malcom was drunk when he returned to the couple's home one night, they began to fight, and what happened next is a matter of dispute.
"We don't believe this was a self-defense situation," said Gwinnett County Assistant District Attorney Nigel Lush.
Police said that the midst of the heated argument, Williams went to the kitchen grabbed a knife, walked back into the other room and then stabbed Malcolm in the arm.
"The stab wound went through his forearm, and just happened to hit the artery in his arm and he subsequently bled to death a short time later," Lush explained.
So CBS Atlanta News asked Ghanayem why his client shouldn't be found guilty of murder.
"She certainly isn't guilty of murder. She is justified in defending herself," he replied.
In an exclusive interview with CBS Atlanta News, Williams explains what happened next.
"I thought everything was going to be OK," Williams said. "I tried to do the best I could to stop the bleeding. I was thinking that he was going to the hospital, to my knowledge that is the last thing I heard him say."
But instead of going to the hospital, Malcom went to a friend's house, where according to Ghanayem, he continued to drink.
"I don't think she caused his death," Ghanayem said. "I think Mr. Malcom killed himself. Had he gone to the hospital, the likelihood is that he would not have died."
Lush told CBS Atlanta News that he disagreed.
"I don't think that is what the evidence is going to show," he said. "It was not that long after he was stabbed that he in fact died."
This autopsy report showed that Malcom's blood alcohol content at the time of his death was .176, more than twice the legal limit.
But never-before released information obtained by CBS Atlanta News calls Williams' intent into question. A notebook found in her home went into detail about how angry she was. In it she wrote, "payback is a bitch."
CBS Atlanta News asked Ghanayem what he would say to someone who believed Malcom was killed in cold blood.
"I would say that is absolutely ridiculous and they have no idea anything about this case," he replied.
Marti Loring, the director for the Center for Mental Health and an expert in battered women's syndrome, spoke to CBS Atlanta News about what happens to women who feel seriously threatened.
"If she gets scared enough she can go into a sense of panic and snap," Loring said.
Loring then explained what happens when a woman snaps.
"They really believe, 'Now I am going to die, he is going to kill me.' And that's when the most dangerous situation comes that she may be killed or she may panic and flail and grab whatever may be handy and strike back at him," she said.
Williams said she never intended to kill the man she loves.
"I still don't believe he is gone," she said. "I know he is physically gone, but in my heart I don't want to believe it. I can't believe it."
Williams now faces life in prison without parole.
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