YORK — More than two months after police accused Alicia Johnson of fatally stabbing a man with a pair of scissors and then leaving his bloodied, nude body in the breezeway of a Rock Hill apartment, a York County magistrate ruled there wasnt enough evidence to charge her with murder.
Instead, Judge Mandrile Young found probable cause in a preliminary hearing Tuesday to accuse her of voluntary manslaughter after her attorney argued she acted in self-defense when she stabbed 54-year-old Anthony Davis, who police and prosecutors say demanded sexual favors in return for drugs, and then attacked her when she kept stalling.
Shortly before 5:30 a.m. Sept. 5, Johnson, who turned 40 Tuesday, called police to say she found a dead man on the ground in front of her Arborwood Park apartment. When officers arrived, they found Davis with a stab wound to the chest, said Rock Hill Police Detective Toshia Smith, lead investigator on the case.
Johnson walked out her 707 Patriot Parkway apartment, identifying herself as "Kesha" Johnson before insisting she didnt know Davis, according to a statement Smith read aloud in court.
Police learned that the apartment belonged to Alicia Johnson and noticed blood on her hands and cuts on her head, knuckles and lip. They also found drops of blood leading from Davis body to Johnsons front door.
Officers arrested Johnson, charging her with giving false information to police. She refused to let police inside her apartment. When officers did get inside, Smith said they found blood droplets in the hallway and a blood-splattered pair of scissors on the couch.
Several neighbors told police they saw Johnson and Davis together just hours before he died, Smith said. Johnson was taken to Piedmont Medical Center after she fell unconscious.
The next day, Johnson confessed to Smith that she and Davis went to a Rock Hill Bi-Lo to buy candles, toothpaste and vodka, while also getting cash they planned to use to buy crack cocaine.
Johnson and Davis used $130 worth of crack cocaine she purchased. When there was only a little left, Davis offered her the rest if she would perform sexual acts on him, Smith said. Johnson reluctantly agreed, but kept stalling because she didnt really want to, she told police.
According to Johnsons signed confession, also read aloud in court, Davis snapped and began punching her in the head and jaw. She grabbed a pair of scissors she borrowed from a neighbor and stabbed him once in what she thought was his arm.
Johnson said Davis walked out of the apartment without his clothes on and collapsed in the breezeway. In her confession, Johnson says, "I didn't know Tony was going to die."
She waited 45 minutes before calling police.
Johnsons inconsistent statements and questionable actions the night of the killing indicate her intent to maliciously kill Davis, Chris Epting, assistant 16th Circuit solicitor, said in court Tuesday.
Detectives who watched Davis autopsy said candle wax was found on his body, along with several other stab wounds, Epting said.
The scissors were plunged into Davis body to the hilt, Epting said.
Johnson's lawyer, York County Public Defender B.J. Barrowclough, said Johnson didn't use the three knives police later found in her bedroom to kill Davis. Her injuries were consistent with someone who is being assaulted.
Johnson was desperate to defend herself against a man "who did not live in that house," he said.
Given her condition drunk on vodka and high on crack cocaine Johnson calling the police at all is "impressive," he said.
The case will move to the grand jury for an indictment. If, after reviewing the case, prosecutors decide to proceed with the murder charge, they can ask a grand jury to consider a murder indictment instead of voluntary manslaughter, Deputy Solicitor Willy Thompson said.
Johnson remains jailed at the York County Detention Center without bond. Her family declined to comment after the hearing.
Jonathan McFadden (803) 329-4082