An Arizona tenant has been charged with murder in the stabbing death of his landlord in a rent dispute three months ago, according to reports.
James Womble, 21, has been charged with one count of second-degree murder after stabbing Peter Gillespie, 63, in Flagstaff on July 25. He pleaded not guilty to the charge and is claiming self-defense, according to the Arizona Daily Sun.
The Coconino County Attorney’ Office which delayed charging Womble until it received all of the forensic evidence from the Department of Public Safety Crime Lab.
The landlord, Gillespie, was killed after he got into an altercation with Womble over past-due rent, according to U.S. News & World Report. The incident ended with Womble stabbing him eight times with a pair of scissors, according to the report filed by Flagstaff police. Gillespie was rushed to Flagstaff Medical Center after the incident, but later died at the hospital.
Gillespie was stabbed with in the neck, chest, leg, left shoulder and left forearm. The coroner’s report was signed by the Coconino County Medical Examiner who labeled multiple stab wounds as the cause of death and the manner of death a homicide.
Tenant says stabbing was self-defense
Womble called 911 after the incident and admitted to stabbing his landlord; however, Womble told police he only stabbed Gillespie after being attacked, according to the newspaper.
He said the incident became violent after Gillespie bumped him and threw him to the ground, causing his shoulder to go out of socket.
Womble then claimed he grabbed a pair of scissors in self-defense, yelling at Gillespie to “get away from me. I am going to stab you. I have a bad shoulder and I can’t do anything else but stab, so please get away from me.”
According to Womble, Gillespie then began to choke him, causing Womble to stab Gillespie eight times, according to the newspaper.