Two defendants in a Sept. 30 stabbing death in Cocke County have been ordered bound to the next session of the Cocke County Grand Jury.
Trent Thomas Balson, 25, Hemlock Circle, Morristown, is charged with voluntary manslaughter in connection with the stabbing of 23-year-old Winnifred Marvin Cas Walker, Walker Road, Newport.
Chelsea Sutton, 23, Sycamore Way, Newport, is charged with accessory after the fact.
The incident occurred at the Paige McGaha home on New Cave Church Road in Newport. Walker was found dead on the steps of the residence with apparent knife wounds.
Balson and Sutton fled the scene and went to a home in White Pine, where they refused to surrender and had to be removed by the Newport/Cocke County SWAT team utilizing teargas at 5 a.m. the following morning.
During the Monday hearing before Cocke County General Sessions Judge Brad Davidson, McGaha testified Balson was upset because he believed someone had stolen his drugs from his vehicle. She testified that the four had used marijuana and Walker had also used Suboxone.
McGaha told the court Balson and Walker were outside when she heard a commotion and heard Balson call for Sutton, saying “they had to leave quickly.” Going outside, McGaha said she found Walker with stab wounds, and she saw Balson holding a large kitchen knife before he and Sutton sped away.
TBI Special Agent Michael O’Keefe said the victim died at the scene of three stab wounds, and a man the knife the following day found in the ditch line close to the scene of the stabbing.
Balson gave a statement to O’Keefe saying he stabbed Walker in self-defense after he himself was cut by Walker. The agent read the statement given by Balson.
“Cas Walker sprinted toward Trent Balson with a big knife in his hand and lunges towards him. Trent Balson said it all happened so fast, that scuffle, I grabbed the knife and stabbed him in self-defense. Trent Balson said he dropped the knife right after that. It was a kitchen knife with a black handle.”
Public defender Keith Haas pointed out Balson had received stitches to his hand as proof of his self-defense argument, and Balson also said Walker had knocked his glasses off in the attack. The glasses were found at the scene of the stabbing.
Assistant district attorney Tonya Thornton questioned the self-defense argument by the defendant.
“The fact that they fled the scene, making no attempt to get medical help for himself or Mr. Walker, lends you to believe there is an intent here for him to have committed a crime not just self-defense. Case law is clear that flight from a scene can be used to show a guilty mind.” Thornton pointed out that the defendants holed up in a house and did not turn themselves in until they were gassed.
Davidson declined to reduce the bond of Balson which is set at $100,000. Sutton is free on bond.