Murder Suspect: I Stabbed Caterer in Self-Defense as She Gripped My Throat

Testifying for the first time, the 19-year-old said wedding guests threatened him

The 20-year-old accused of killing a wedding caterer after a wedding reception in Virginia last summer took the stand in his defense for the first time on Thursday and argued he stabbed the woman as she gripped him by the throat.

Tyonne Johns, 35, died after Kempton Bonds, a seasonal employee for the Fairfax County Park Authority, attacked her after a wedding Aug. 6 in Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Chantilly, police said. The two argued as Bonds told Johns that the chairs she was packing into her company's truck belonged to the park authority, not her company, according to police.

Bonds, who was 19 at the time of the alleged crime, said during about four hours of testimony Thursday that Johns backed him into a railing and grabbed his neck. He said he opened inside his pocket a pocketknife he carries.

"I opened the knife when I realized I wasn't breathing," he said. "I was trying to yell, but I couldn't get much out."

Bonds recorded the tense moments using his cellphone.

"Little boy! Little boy!" a woman can be heard yelling.

Then, a struggle can be heard and a woman cries out.

"Oh. You stabbed me?" she says.

Bonds then can be heard shouting "Police!" again and again.

Johns was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Bonds remained at the crime scene and was taken into police custody.

Johns was a talented chef with many friends, her loved ones said. She "loved to love, loved to cook. People, in general, just flocked to her," one friend previously told News4.


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Bonds called police earlier in the night and said he was threatened at the wedding.

He angered wedding guests by picking rose petals off the floor because they were not allowed, and cutting power to the music before the 9 p.m. deadline, The Washington Post reported.

Then, the fatal encounter occurred.

Bonds said he called 911 as soon as he could.

"I also have another call in saying that there's been a stabbing there. Is that correct?" the dispatcher says on the recording of the call.

"Yes. They attacked me. I defended myself," Bonds responds.

"Did somebody stab you?" she asks. 

"No," he replies.

"You stabbed somebody?" the dispatcher asks.

"She had her hands around my throat," the 19-year-old replied.

Several people who heard Bonds' testimony Thursday were emotional. Some had to leave the room. They described Johns as the victim, not the aggressor.

The jury is expected to hear closing arguments Friday. Then, they will begin their deliberations.

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