CHATSWORTH — Kevin Perry says he was starting to black out from being strangled when he remembered he had a knife in his pocket and started stabbing on the night of Aug. 30, 2005.

Perry, 18, is on trial in Superior Court for aggravated assault for stabbing Billy Mitchell, 38, his mother Melissa Perry's boyfriend. The three lived in the same house at 2979 McEntire Circle, Chatsworth.

There is no dispute between prosecution and defense that Perry stabbed Mitchell. The dispute is whether the stabbing was done in self defense.

Mitchell was stabbed six times.

If convicted, Perry faces between 20 years and life in prison. The jury went into deliberations Wednesday for about five minutes before requesting to continue this morning. Deliberations will begin at 9 a.m.

Kevin and Melissa Perry testified Wednesday that they had been in an argument about him obeying her rules that resulted in food being thrown on a wall while Mitchell slept in a back bedroom. Kevin Perry began to leave in his mother's car, but she told him not to take her car, they said. He threw the key at her while on the porch and went back into the house, they said.

Kevin Perry said he went into his bedroom to get his wallet and cell phone to call a cab. Melissa Perry said she went into the bedroom to wake Mitchell so he would take her son to his father’s residence. All three said Mitchell had taken Perry to his father's house after verbal arguments before.

Kevin Perry came into the living room from his bedroom.

"He was facing the wall and saw me coming out of the corner of his eye and turned to face me," Kevin Perry said of Mitchell. "I tried walking around. He was mad. She was mad, and I figured I'd done enough. I was going to get out of sight."

He said Mitchell grabbed him and hit him at least three times in the head, once on the temple and twice on the top of his head.

Mitchell testified Tuesday that Perry came at him, "hitting" him while they were in the hallway. It was when all the stabbing was over and Mitchell saw the knife that he said he realized he had been stabbed.

Kevin Perry said Mitchell began pushing him back a few times into the wall, and eventually into the laundry room.

"He came up and put his hands around my neck and started pushing down," Perry said. "When I hit the washer it stunned me. I started seeing little white spots."

He said he was also having trouble breathing and began trying to pull Mitchell's hands off his neck.

"I reached down and lifted the knife," with his right hand and began stabbing Mitchell's left side because that is all he could reach, Perry said. He said he only stabbed Mitchell while he was being strangled in the laundry room.

Assistant district attorney Scott Minter said during closing arguments there are problems with that testimony.

Minter held pictures of the laundry room up to the jurors pointing out there was not much blood there, but there was more blood in the hallway. He said the evidence shows some of the stabbing had to have occurred outside the laundry room.

Minter also showed a picture of Mitchell's hand that had been stabbed. Minter asked Perry during his testimony how Mitchell's hand was stabbed if he could not reach anything but his left side during the strangulation. Perry said he did not know. Testimony Tuesday revealed that Mitchell also had been stabbed on his right side.

Perry's attorney Richard Murray said Perry had proof he had been strangled. There was a two- to three-inch red mark on his neck after the stabbing, which Murray said was from Mitchell's pinky.

"Would you agree that the pinky is the weakest finger on the hand?" Minter asked Perry. "Yes," he replied.

Minter then asked why there weren't other marks left by the fingers and thumbs.

"Because you didn't have a neck injury, did you?" he asked. Perry replied "I don't know."

"You can't strangle somebody with your pinky," Minter told jurors during closing arguments. "Where are the hand marks? Where are the thumb marks? This strangulation didn't happen. Without strangulation you can't use deadly force as self defense. And if Billy Mitchell had his hands around the defendant's throat, he can't get cut on the hand."

Murray said the question should not even be if "deadly force" was being used on Perry, but if "Kevin believed it was being used on him. Kevin had three to 10 seconds to think about what he was going to do. If Kevin honestly thought he was being hurt, then he was justified in using deadly force" to defend himself.

Kevin and Melissa Perry and Mitchell testified Kevin Perry dropped the knife at the front door after the stabbing before leaving.

"I was thinking he might get a gun or a knife," Perry said about why he left the residence.

"So you dropped your sole means of self defense?" Minter asked. Perry replied with "yeah. I can run pretty fast."

Minter said during closing statements Perry "gives Billy Mitchell, the man he is so afraid of, a knife? He said he was afraid Billy Mitchell would get a knife or a gun."

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