WASHINGTON — A judge declared a mistrial Friday after the jury could not reach a verdict in the case of a park employee charged with the fatal stabbing of a caterer after a wedding in Chantilly.
Jurors told a Fairfax County judge that they could not reach a consensus after more than 6 hours of deliberating. The judge said that some of the jurors were no longer speaking to one another, according to NBC Washington.
This comes a day after Kempton Bonds, of Clifton, Virginia, took the stand in his own defense.
According to NBC Washington, Bonds told jurors that he was defending himself when he pulled out a folding knife and stabbed chef Tyonne Johns, who was 35. He said she had put her hands around his neck and pushed him up against a railing last August.
Bonds recorded those tense moments on his cellphone. He can be heard shouting for the police on the recording and stayed on the scene, where he was arrested.
Bonds and Johns had argued over who owned the chairs that the caterer was loading onto a truck — Johns or the Fairfax County Park Authority — and the argument escalated.
Prosecutors said that the knife pierced John’s heart. During closing arguments, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Brandon Shapiro called Bonds the “sheriff,” who wouldn’t bend the rules and was disrespectful and condescending to the wedding party.
Shapiro said that other witnesses testified that Johns never touched Bonds, whom he said brought a knife to a fist fight.
Friends and family of Johns have described her as an excellent chef and suggested that Johns’ stabbing was the result of a hate crime.
NBC Washington’s David Culver contributed to this report from Fairfax, Va.