Prosecution says Monroe man stabbed his roommate 5 times, but defense says he acted in self-defense

Credit: Journal News

McFarland Trial

Credit: Journal News

One strike hit aorta causing the fatal wound, forensic pathologist says.

Peyton McFarland stabbed his roommate at their home in Monroe multiple times with a knife attached to a battle ax, with one strike hitting the aorta causing the fatal wound, Butler County Assistant Prosecutor Jon Marshall told a jury Tuesday during trial opening statements.

But McFarland’s defense attorney says the man acted in self-defense when confronted by his much larger and angry roommate Christopher Hacker.

The 21-year old was arrested on May 31, 2020, a day after the slaying of Hacker and charged with murder and felonious assault. McFarland’s trial began Monday with jury selection in Butler County Common Pleas Court Monday and that jury visited the Sands Avenue house where the stabbing happened Tuesday morning.

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Assistant prosecutor Jon Marshall, right, questions pathologist Dr. Lee Lehman about puncture wounds during the trial of Peyton McFarland for the death of Chris Hacker Tuesday, April 20, 2021 in Butler County Common Pleas Court in Hamilton. The defense says McFarland acted in self defense when he stabbed Chris Hacker to death at their Monroe residence. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Assistant prosecutor Jon Marshall, right, questions pathologist Dr. Lee Lehman about puncture wounds during the trial of Peyton McFarland for the death of Chris Hacker Tuesday, April 20, 2021 in Butler County Common Pleas Court in Hamilton. The defense says McFarland acted in self defense when he stabbed Chris Hacker to death at their Monroe residence. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

“This defendant made a choice, he chose violence and and Christopher Hacker paid for it with his life,” Marshall said, adding McFarland told police and others that he attacked and stabbed Hacker.

But defense attorney Frank Schiavone IV told the jury Hacker, who was the boyfriend of McFarland’s sister, became upset over dirty dishes and pounded on McFarland’s bedroom door where he was playing video games. Then he “lured” McFarland out into a narrow hallway that had only one way in or out.

“Chris Hacker towered over Peyton and scared him,” Schiavone said. And McFarland defended himself.

The defense attorney said McFarland had the knife portion of an “elaborate weapon” and Hacker was in possession of the ax portion during the fight.

Schiavone noted Hacker did not die at the house and walked to the neighbors and to the ambulance to Atrium Medical Center in Middletown where he was pronounced dead.

Dr. Lee Lehman, chief forensic pathologist at the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office testified an autopsy revealed one of the wounds, about 6 1/2 inches, hit Hacker’s aorta.

Defense attorney Frank Schiavone IV, right, questions pathologist Dr. Lee Lehman about puncture woulds during the trial of Peyton McFarland for the death of Chris Hacker Tuesday, April 20, 2021 in Butler County Common Pleas Court in Hamilton. The defense says McFarland acted in self defense when he stabbed Chris Hacker to death at their Monroe residence. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Defense attorney Frank Schiavone IV, right, questions pathologist Dr. Lee Lehman about puncture woulds during the trial of Peyton McFarland for the death of Chris Hacker Tuesday, April 20, 2021 in Butler County Common Pleas Court in Hamilton. The defense says McFarland acted in self defense when he stabbed Chris Hacker to death at their Monroe residence. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

“It was a fatal wound, " Lehman said. Hacker had four other stab wounds, including another on his back and on the palm of a hand.

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Neighbors Jennifer and David Johnson testified they tried to help Hacker when he walked through the yard bloody and holding a towel over his shoulder.

Jennifer Johnson said she heard Hacker yell out “Peyton help” while she was watering flowers. She went inside to call 911. Her husband came outside to try to aid Hacker who was on the porch.

Johnson said Hacker was able to get on to the gurney will very little assistance, “so we all thought he was going to be alright.”

David Johnson said Hacker told him the fight was about dishes not being washed and changing the password to the internet.

Monroe Police Officer Dan Pratt transported McFarland from the scene to the Butler County Jail. During the car ride, Pratt testified McFarland said “I (expletive) up.”

The trial is scheduled to last through the week.

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Jurors are divided by transparent panels during the trial of Peyton McFarland for the death of Chris Hacker Tuesday, April 20, 2021 in Butler County Common Pleas Court in Hamilton. The defense says McFarland acted in self defense when he stabbed Chris Hacker to death at their Monroe residence. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Jurors are divided by transparent panels during the trial of Peyton McFarland for the death of Chris Hacker Tuesday, April 20, 2021 in Butler County Common Pleas Court in Hamilton. The defense says McFarland acted in self defense when he stabbed Chris Hacker to death at their Monroe residence. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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