Knoxville woman claims she killed boyfriend in self defense

Knoxville woman claims she killed boyfriend in self defense

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"He was choking me, and I felt like I couldn't get him off. He was stronger than me," Tyeisha Stewart testified. "He was choking me, and I felt like I couldn't get him off. He was stronger than me," Tyeisha Stewart testified.

By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Was the slaying of D'juansay Freeman self defense or intentional by his girlfriend Tyeisha Stewart? That's the question a Knox County jury has to answer.

Stewart, 23, is charged with second degree murder in the 2007 stabbing death of Freeman.

The jury got the case Tuesday afternoon but before that, Stewart took the stand in her own defense.

There's no question that Stewart killed her boyfriend. The key to her defense is why. "He was controlling, had a bad temper, violent and very jealous," Stewart testified.

Stewart says she was beaten throughout the couple's relationship. The night of the stabbing, Stewart says Freeman started hitting her and refused to leave her apartment.

"He was choking me, and I felt like I couldn't get him off. He was stronger than me," Stewart testified.

Stewart said she bit Freeman, creating a window so she could grab a knife. She also said she only used the knife to slash Freeman to scare him off, not to kill him.

Stewart broke down on the stand as she recalled Freeman's unresponsive body.

However, her crying turned into frustration when prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald started her cross examination.

Fitzgerald said there was a deep stab that punctured Freeman's lungs ending at his arm. The crime scene photos don't back up Stewart's story of a struggle either.

In fact, prosecutors say Stewart knew she had her boyfriend's car keys in her pocket, proving she didn't want him to leave that night.

Despite the beatings and the way it ended, Stewart said, "I love you D'juansay and I will never stop loving you."

The victim's parents say Stewart's defendant's claim of self defense is bogus. 

"How can you say it was self defense and that he was abusive in the same breath and you then can call the next day and say he was good to me? He was good to my daughter?" said Freeman's mother, Terry Jefferson.

"I don't thing it was self defense, but that is what the jury will have to decide. I just want justice and this to be over," said Freeman's father, Greg Freeman.

If Stewart is convicted of second degree murder, her maximum punishment could be 15 to 20 years.

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