911 caller charged with murder in Middletown fatal stabbing

Middletown police have arrested the man who called 911 early Friday morning and said he stabbed his sister’s boyfriend in self-defense.

Zachary Fields, 19, of Shafor Street, is charged with murder in the death of Nick Kriner, 34, early Friday morning, according to police and court records. He is being held in the Middletown City Jail in lieu of $1 million bond.

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Fields was hysterical when he called Middletown dispatchers shortly before 5 a.m. Friday morning and confessed to stabbing Kriner in self-defense, according to the 911 call obtained by the Journal-News.

Fields, who said he was standing on the corner of Shafor Street and Central Avenue, told the dispatcher that Kriner had assaulted him.

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“I have been assaulted and attacked and he would not listen to stay away from me and I stabbed him,” the man said.

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He identified Kriner as his sister’s boyfriend.

“He’s drunk and he wouldn’t stop assaulting me,” Fields said. “Oh my God, Oh my God.”

The dispatcher asked him where he stabbed Kriner.

“I don’t know. I have it on video, I am pretty sure,” Fields answered.

The dispatcher also asked the location of the knife.

Fields answered, “I don’t know. I think inside of him.”

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Police were called to a residence at about 4:55 a.m. on a report of person stabbed in the chest, according to Lt. Scott Reeve. Kriner was transported to Atrium Medical Center where he died, according to police.

When Barbara Neal returned to her Shafor Street home at 4 a.m. Friday after taking her husband to Atrium Medical Center, she said the neighborhood was quiet. But less than an hour later, she said she couldn’t believe what was happening.

“It’s crazy,” Neal told the Journal-News while sitting on her concrete step with her daughter. “I can’t believe it. I can’t believe what happened.”

She said Kriner moved into 10 Shafor St. last summer.

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On Wednesday night, Neal said she heard a lot of doors slamming next door. Then on Thursday night, while she was at the hospital, her daughter texted and said two men were screaming outside. She told her daughter to go inside and lock the doors until she returned home.

Neal said she was stunned Friday morning when she heard Kriner was dead.

Neal and her daughter saw Kriner buying beer at the Midd-Town drive through at 9:40 p.m. Thursday. As it turned out, that was the last time she saw him alive.

“That’s just crazy to think about,” she said.

Fields is scheduled to appear in Middletown Municipal Court on July 21 for a preliminary hearing.

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