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Published: Friday, 9/17/2010

Man pleads no contest in assault, fatal knife attack

Priscilla Hand tells how Lamont Smith was fatally stabbed and she was slashed after a quarrel turned violent. Priscilla Hand tells how Lamont Smith was fatally stabbed and she was slashed after a quarrel turned violent.

It began as a quarrel between his fiance and a friend - a fight that William Defalco became a part of when he pulled out a knife and lunged into the fracas, a Lucas County assistant prosecutor said Thursday.

And when it was over, his fiance, Priscilla Hand, had been cut on the arm and 16-year-old Lamont M. Smith lay bleeding to death.

Defalco, 21, pleaded no contest in Common Pleas Court Thursday to one count each of involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault for the Feb. 21 stabbings. He faces up to 18 years in prison when sentenced Sept. 30 by Judge Stacy Cook.

"During the altercation, Mr. Defalco ultimately stabbed [the victim] in the neck area, severing his carotid artery," Assistant County Prosecutor Michael Loisel said, adding that the teenager died of of excessive bleeding as a result of the stab wound.

The group had been at Ms. Hand's South Avenue apartment at about 3:20 a.m. when the assault occurred. According to witnesses, a verbal altercation began between the Smith youth and Ms. Hand during which she struck the teenager and ordered him to leave, Mr. Loisel said.

Defalco intervened and "went after" the Smith youth, Mr. Loisel said.

Defalco Defalco

The teenager was pronounced dead at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center. Ms. Hand received eight stitches across the inside of her forearm.

Defalco fled the scene, Mr. Loisel said. After calling his father, he was taken to the hospital to be treated for wounds on his hands.

He then fled from the hospital and was later arrested by Toledo police.

Ms. Hand has said in previous interviews that she did not believe Defalco had intended to hurt her, and that she is unsure how things unraveled so quickly.

The Smith youth, who was being raised by a grandmother in North Toledo, regularly visited Ms. Hand and other family members and was known to Defalco. The victim's family was not in court Thursday.

Mr. Loisel said it is believed Defalco was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time.

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