It will up to a jury to decide this week whether a Hephzibah woman fatally stabbed her boyfriend in self-defense or without legal justification.
Mattie Gaines’ defense attorney, Maureen Floyd, told the Richmond County Superior Court jury in her opening statement that Boris Dease was physically, verbally and emotionally abusive, especially when he drank too much, as he did on Nov. 11, 2010.
Gaines, 28, wanted to keep Dease from hitting her when she picked up a kitchen knife and unintentionally nicked Dease’s throat, Floyd said.
Dease, 34, died the next day.
Gaines was charged with aggravated assault with a knife, murder and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime.
Although Gaines told a Richmond County sheriff’s investigator that it was self-defense, she initially told a 911 operator and sheriff’s officers at the scene that Dease was stabbed by an intruder during a home invasion.
On the 911 recording played for the jury Tuesday, Gaines repeatedly begs for help in between telling the 911 operator that an intruder stabbed Dease in the bathroom.
The first officers at the scene found Dease in the bathroom, struggling to breathe and turning blue, Cpl. Mitchell Freeman testified. Gaines was quietly sitting on the staircase, he said.
Dease struggled with the officers as they tried to stop the bleeding, Freeman said, but he wasn’t trying to fight the officers. He was fighting to breathe.