By Michael Regan
Niagara Gazette — NORTH TONAWANDA — A woman accused of killing her boyfriend with a kitchen knife last week was in North Tonawanda City Court on Monday, where a judge granted her attorney's request to delay a felony hearing as he seeks to gather additional information for her defense.
Jennifer R. Marchant, 23, was taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder after police responded to an apparent domestic dispute Wednesday inside her Oliver Street apartment. When two officers arrived they found Ralph D. Stone, 24, bleeding from his neck area and struggling to breathe. He died a short while later inside the apartment the two apparently shared.
Marchant was led into the courthouse Monday by Niagara County Sheriff's deputies and sat handcuffed, teary-eyed, and wearing a tan Niagara County Jail-issued jumpsuit and white sneakers. Several of her relatives and friends of the victim were also on hand.
North Tonawanda City Court Judge William R. Lewis granted Marchant's attorney, Kevin Mahoney, an adjournment of the felony hearing to March 7, though by then it may be moved from North Tonawanda to Niagara County Court. Marchant is currently being held without bail.
"We're still gathering information," Mahoney said outside of the courtroom after the brief appearance. "We believe that she was trapped, she had no choice other than to defend herself and we see no intention on her part to kill Mr. Stone."
Several people who were in court and identified themselves as friends of Stone, said he was not a violent person and was not abusive to Marchant, his girlfriend for nearly a year.
Jeff Alexander said he had been with the victim in the apartment on the day of the stabbing, though he left at approximately 6:45 p.m., hours before the apparent quarrel began and a 911 call was placed to police at 10:30 p.m.
"He's never been abusive, ever," Alexander said. "He lived his life, he was a good Christian. His family is grieving it and were at church last night."
Alexander said he believed that Marchant may have had drug and alcohol problems and Stone could have been been involved with drugs as well. He said the two had an argument over the phone the night of the stabbing.
Police said a six- to eight-inch kitchen knife was used.
Records indicate however that Stone was arrested at least 11 times between 2006 and 2010, the most recent of which was for assault with a baseball bat. None of the arrests were for drug offenses. Marchant was arrested twice for DWI during the past two years.
She is also believed to have appeared in various pornographic films. Alexander said Stone had confided in him that she was previously involved in that business, though she had dropped out of it soon after the two began dating.
"Ralph was aware," he said. "I guess she stopped when they got together."
Alexander said that Marchant had been drinking the night of Stone's death and that the couple had ongoing troubles with the relationship after they had met a party last year.
"He always told me that there were issues with her," he said.Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.