Argument over sports led to fatal stabbing, attorneys say

Robert Steven Hawkins says it was self-defense
Sep. 24, 2013 @ 08:41 AM

A man whose murder trial starts this week says he stabbed his friend in the neck in 2010 while defending himself after the two got into a drunken fight over a Monday Night Football game, attorneys said in court Monday.

Robert Steven Hawkins, 45, of 2608 Pisgah Church Road was charged with murder after Jason Everette Clark, 38, was fatally stabbed in the neck at Clark's house at 2324 Alfred Hartley Road on Oct. 19, 2010.

Hawkins and Clark were drinking heavily that day as they watched both a Monday Night Football game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans, and an American League Championship baseball playoff game between the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers, Assistant District Attorney Dawn Tutterow told Judge Nathaniel J. Poovey of Caldwell Superior Court on Monday. At some point, the two got into an argument that led to a fist fight.

Authorities say Hawkins stabbed Clark once in the neck, severing an artery.

In the recording of the 911 call that followed the stabbing -- it was not clear in court Monday whether Clark or Hawkins placed the call -- a voice could be heard saying, "Die, aren't you dead yet?" Tutterow added.

Investigators found Clark dead in his kitchen.

Vannoy said that a mental health evaluation of Clark that had been conducted prior to his death by Catawba Valley Behavioral Health may reveal a history of aggressive behavior and possibly anger issues and violence.

Jury selection in Hawkins' trial is set to begin today in Caldwell Superior Court.

Though Hawkins initially was in jail, since December 9, 2010 he has been under house arrest, ordered to not have any contact with Clark's family and required to abide by a curfew. Hawkins also must wear an alcohol-monitoring device because of a history of alcohol-related convictions.