A Boulder stabbing case is in jury deliberations after attorneys made their final arguments Monday afternoon.
Robert Hicks, 31, is charged with first-degree murder after deliberation in the death of Curtis Stringe, 34, of Boulder. Hicks is also facing one misdemeanor count of third-degree assault.
Jurors will also be able to consider the lesser counts of second-degree murder, reckless manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
Hicks is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted on the first-degree murder charge.
Prosecutors said the incident on Feb. 14, 2021, started when witnesses saw Hicks punching Stringe in a van parked in a south Boulder parking lot. A city ranger responded and followed the van back to the apartment on East Moorhead Circle where both Hicks and Stringe lived. The ranger found Stringe with injuries to his face, but both men declined to say what happened and police left.
Police said sometime between 8 and 9 p.m. that night, Hicks stabbed Stringe 11 times. But while Hicks said he stabbed Stringe in self defense in the kitchen, prosecutors said Hicks attacked Stringe in his bedroom.
The knife prosecutors believe to be the murder weapon was found in the bedroom. Another knife was found in the kitchen, which Hicks said that was the knife he used to stab Stringe while the knife in the bedroom was the one Stringe was holding.
Hicks took the stand during the weeklong trial, saying that Stringe cornered him in the kitchen with a knife, forcing Hicks to grab a knife and stab him in self defense.
“I regret what happened to Curtis, greatly, but I had no choice,” Hicks said Monday. “I don’t know what else I could have done. I did what I had to do to get out of there.”
Hicks said he didn’t initially call 911 because he did not realize how badly Stringe was hurt.
“It happened so fast in the kitchen, I didn’t know how many times he was hit,” Hicks said. “I didn’t know it was that bad.”
But Boulder County Deputy District Attorney Kelsey Waldorf said police did not find any of Stringe’s blood in the kitchen.
She also said the amount of stab wounds was not a reasonable amount considering Hicks had no injuries except cuts on his hand that prosecutors said were caused when he was stabbing Stringe.
“Mr. Hicks used that knife to stab Mr. Stringe once, and then twice, three times, a fourth, a fifth,” Boulder Deputy District Attorney Kelsey Waldorf said. “He didn’t stop stabbing Mr. Stringe until he left 11 stab wounds.”
Chief Trial Deputy Adrian Van Nice also pointed out the stab marks progressed down Stringe’s body, which was more consistent with someone trying to crawl away than someone being rapidly stabbed by someone he was holding. Van Nice also said Stringe was naked from the waist down, which was more indicative of someone getting ready for bed than attacking.
“You’re not going to start a fight not wearing any pants,” Van Nice said.
But defense attorney Brooks Robinson said Stringe was the aggressor in both the parking lot fight and the stabbing.
“Mr. Hicks acted in self-defense,” Robinson said. “His action was immediate and without deliberation. He didn’t intend to cause his death, it wasn’t his conscious objective. He wanted his friend to be OK.”
Robinson noted that all of the stab wounds were “shallow and superficial” except for one wound that cut an artery.
“These weren’t the plunging wounds of someone trying to accomplish a murder,” Robinson said. “He doesn’t drive the knife through, he doesn’t twist it. He’s trying to get Curtis away from him.”
Robinson said Stringe’s blood on the outside of his bedroom door is more consistent with Stringe being stabbed in the kitchen and then going into his bedroom. As for the lack of Stringe’s blood in the kitchen, Robinson said police did a poor job of collecting evidence and doing a thorough investigation at the scene.
“They didn’t do their jobs,” Robinson said.
Following closing arguments, the jury was released to begin deliberations shortly after 4:30 p.m. before then being dismissed for the day at 5 p.m. They will resume deliberations Tuesday.