Monroe man’s sentencing set for next month in stabbing death of roommate

With conviction, he faces maximum life sentence with possibility of parole after 15 years.

A Monroe man is scheduled to be sentenced next month after he was found guilty Friday of the stabbing death of his roommate last May.

Following a five-day trial in Butler County Common Pleas Court, Peyton McFarland was found guilty of murder and felonious assault after stabbing Christopher Hacker to death on May 30 at their Sands Avenue residence.

McFarland, 21, didn’t deny stabbing Hacker with a 7-inch knife that was attached to an ax, but said he acted in self-defense. An argument about dirty dishes in the kitchen sink turned contentious and violent with Hacker receiving a fatal wound.

The jury deliberated three hours before finding McFarland guilty as charged. McFarland faces the maximum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years. Judge Jennifer McElfresh set sentencing for May 6.

Hacker was stabbed five times with a 7-inch knife, including two wounds in the back. One stab wound from a knife attached to a battle ax hit Hacker’s aorta, causing the fatal injury, according to Butler County Assistant Prosecutor Jon Marshall.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

McFarland testified in his own defense saying he was afraid of Hacker, who was his sister’s boyfriend and often was violent with her.

On the day of the murder, McFarland said he was playing video games in his bedroom, which was locked, when both his sister and father, who was visiting, knocked and told him to wash a stack of dishes in the sink. He said he refused because it was not his responsibility.

Later when alone in the house, Hacker pounded on the bedroom door and yelled “do the (expletive) dishes” and threatened to break the door down, McFarland said. “I was scared. I wanted to de-escalate the situation so I said I would do the dishes at a later time.”

McFarland continued to play video games before the internet connection went out and he said he stepped out of the room to check the modem.

Hacker was standing in the doorway red in the face and “scary-looking,” McFarland said. “He said I will (expletive) you up.”

That’s when McFarland grabbed what he described as a fantasy weapon that is an ax with a knife that screws into it.

McFarland’s voice choked as he recalled Hacker walking toward him.

“I was frightened, very frightened for my life, “ McFarland said, stating Hacker managed to get the ax from him. “He raised the ax in the air. I thought I was going to die and I decided either I die at that point or I would live. I stabbed him.”

He said he stabbed Hacker until he stopped walking toward him.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

During cross-examination, Marshall demonstrated how it takes some effort to unscrew the knife from the ax and asked McFarland how Hacker was able to get both away from his possession.

“I don’t know. It was very fast,” McFarland said.

“I guess like a magician,” Marshall responded. The prosecution also noted there were no injuries to McFarland after the incident

After stabbing Hacker, McFarland took the knife and ax outside and waited for the police. He called 911 and said, “I attacked my roommate … come and arrest me.”

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