A Fresno man has been convicted of first-degree murder for stabbing another man with a sword in a dispute over two cans of beer.
Curtis Michael Davis, 58, faces 26 years to life when he is sentenced on Oct. 12 in Fresno Superior Court.
The jury deliberated about three hours before convicting Davis on Thursday afternoon in the April 15 killing of 54-year-old Bernard Jackson, who died in the parking lot of market store at North Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
During Davis’ trial, Fresno defense attorney Kojo Moore argued that Davis killed Bernard in self-defense. According to Moore, Bernard and Davis got into an argument over two cans of beer outside the store around 8 p.m.
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Moore said when Bernard bent over to pick up an object to strike Davis, Davis pulled out a sword that was hidden in his cane and stabbed Bernard once in the chest. After the stabbing, Davis went home in a nearby apartment complex, where police later arrested him.
According to a trial brief by prosecutor Amythest “Amy” Freeman, Davis admitted to police detectives that he stabbed Jackson, implying it was self-defense. Police found the murder weapon with blood on it inside Davis’ apartment, the brief says.
Moore said a friend gave Davis $2 to purchase beer. Because Davis was banned from the store, he asked Jackson to purchase the beer.
Jackson purchased a can of Hurricane High Gravity Malt Liquor and a can of Colt 45 Malt Liquor. When he came out of the store, he and Davis got into an argument, Moore said.
Freeman’s trial brief said a store awning blocked a store surveillance camera from capturing the stabbing. But the camera captured Davis coming out from under the awning and removing “what detectives determined to be a sword from his cane.”
A witness didn’t see the stabbing, but saw the victim sprawled in the parking lot and a man known in the neighborhood as “Big Man” wearing a white neck brace standing over the victim, the brief says.
When police arrested the 5-foot-7, 250-pound Davis he was wearing a white neck brace, the brief says.