By Michelle Guffey
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON A Bell County jury found a 27-year-old Temple man guilty Wednes-day of fatally stabbing his girlfriends father 17 times.
Donald Alan Fair, on trial in Judge Joe Carrolls 27th District Court, was found guilty on the Nov. 1, 2004, charge of murdering Richard Terrance Knight at Chappelle Apartments in Temple. Fair, who was living with the victim and his daughter, was also dating Knights 17-year-old daughter at the time.
Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Depew told the jury during closing arguments that finding Fair guilty is as easy as it seems. Police found the knife used during the assault on Fair when he was arrested.
Hes guilty. Its as simple as that, she said.
Depew told the six-man, six-woman jury that the 17 stab wounds on Knights body indicate that it was not self-defense.
Fairs explanation to police was that Knight rushed him so he rushed him back.
Danielle Knight the only witness to the murder testified Monday that her father had come to her defense when Fair was attacking her. Danielle stated that she and Fair were arguing about methamphetamine she and Fair were meth users.
Danielle stated in the affidavit that she saw Fair hitting her father. Fair then got Knight to the ground, and Danielle stated she realized that Fair was stabbing her father in the chest with a knife.
In the affidavit, she described that blood was flying everywhere and she heard her father begging Fair to stop.
Depew reminded the jury that in Danielles testimony she said that her dad hit Fair in the face and chest maybe three times. He didnt have a weapon.
Self-defense is not there, Depew said.
Depew admitted that since Knight hit Fair first, Fair was entitled to hit him back. But instead, he stabbed him over and over.
He had the opportunity to retreat several times, she said. Knight didnt have a knife.
Defense attorney Jim Hewitt said that during the attack Fair was under the influence of meth, admitting that being under the influence was not a defense.
We must find other elements, other states of mind, Hewitt said.
Hewitt told the jury that the arresting officer said that Fair had a blank stare and was not focused.
He was extremely unresponsive and unable to relate to the environment, Hewitt said. This is strong evidence of his state of mind.
Hewitt told the jury that Fair believed that, at the time, he was threatened.
And you can tell by the force that he responded with he believed he was fighting for his life, he said.
Assistant District Attorney Cindy Franklin explained that Knight didnt have a chance against Fair.
He was an older man with diabetes who never left the house, she said. (Fair) was young, strong, and had a knife.
Franklin reminded the jury that Danielle testified that Fair kept stabbing Knight and that Knight put up his hands and begged Fair to stop.
Once Fair got Knight down on the ground, Knight never got up again, Franklin said.
When police arrived, they saw Knight laying on the ground near the door with several stab wounds and cuts on his body and face.
Danielle said her dad punched Fair in the face, that her dad was defending her because Fair was roughing her up, Franklin said.
When Fair was arrested, Danielle had a bruise on her arm and Fair had a bruised eye. The victim was justified in protecting his daughter, she said.
Franklin said that there were several things one could imply about Danielle, the eyewitness.
Shes a teenager and a meth user. She has a boyfriend who is 10 years older than she is that she shares a bed with; she used her dads money to buy drugs for her and Fair. She played her parents against one another, and she could be called a spoiled, rotten teenage drama queen.
But, Franklin said, her account of the murder is consistent with the evidence.
Franklin said that one could also say that Knight was wrong for letting a 25-year-old man sleep and live with his 15-year-old daughter. Knight let her smoke and drink and use his ATM card. Franklin said Knight was wrong.
The monkeys were running the zoo, Franklin said.
On Tuesday, Temple police officer Brian Edds testified that Fair had called earlier in the day and accused Knight of being a wanted child molester.
Edds said that Fair showed him a magazine clipping of a person who was wanted for child molestation.
He believed the person (in the clipping) was his roommate, Edds testified. Fair also said he was afraid Knight was going to accuse him of putting bruises on his daughter.
Edds said that after talking with Fair, Edds decided to go into the apartment to talk to Knight. The police officer said he wanted to talk to Knight to see if he was the person in the article and to determine if there was any bruises on his daughter.
I determined that Knight was not the person in the picture, Edds said.
During Edds visit, he testified that Danielle adamantly denied that Fair had caused bruises on her.
Knight was the one-time manager of the 1970s rock n roll band Grand Funk Railroad.
Judge Carroll ordered a presentencing investigation and set Fairs sentencing hearing for May 26.
Contact Michelle Guffey at firstname.lastname@example.org