Niagara Gazette

Courts

September 26, 2013

Details in fatal NT stabbing begin to materialize

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — New details emerged Wednesday during a hearing in Niagara County Court regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of Ralph D. Stone, who in February was stabbed by his girlfriend inside a North Tonawanda apartment. 

Several members of the North Tonawanda Police Department shared sparse, though vivid, images encompassing their recollections of the night of Feb. 6, when they responded to Dahlgreen Place and Second Avenue for a “walking domestic,” then were redirected by county dispatchers to the apartment where Stone lay bleeding and clinging to life from a single stab wound to his neck area. 

Officer Timothy R. Sylvester, a 14-year veteran, told Assistant District Attorney Lisa Baehre he was the first to arrive at the multi-unit building at 580 Oliver St., when he heard the screams of Jennifer R. Marchant, who is now charged with first-degree manslaughter, as he ascended the stairs of the building to apartment 3. 

“I went to the top of the stairs, turned right and the door was open,” Sylvester recalled. “The screaming was coming from the apartment.”

“ ‘Ralph was so drunk,’ “ Sylvester said he heard Marchant say as he walked into the domain. “ ‘I went to the front bedroom to get away from him. He only gets like this when he’s really drunk.’ “ 

He found Marchant in the bathroom after entering the apartment through the kitchen at approximately 10:43 p.m., interviewing her 15 minutes later. 

Two more officers soon joined him, one cuffing Marchant and sitting her on the apartment floor as Sylvester was “working on a male” in another room. During cross-examination, defense attorney Dominic Saraceno asked Sylvester what he did during a 15-minute period between his arrival and the interview. 

“I was trying to keep Ralph Stone from bleeding to death,” he said. Stone died a short while later. 

At 12:15 a.m., police detectives led Marchant back to headquarters, where she was questioned for two hours inside a 10-by-12 foot room as the door left open, according to detectives. Marchant did not request the presence of an attorney during the process, only asking to speak to her mother after signing a waiver and initialing a statement recorded and typed-out in front of her, police said under oath. 

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