If a former Middle Tennessee State University student charged with first-degree murder acted in self-defense, Lady Raider basketball player Tina Stewart would not have been left alone to die after being stabbed during an altercation last year, prosecutors agrued Wednesday.
“Shanterrica Madden did many things after the stabbing, but none were designed to help Stewart live,” Assistant District Attorney Paul Newman said, during the first day of testimony before Judge Don Ash in Rutherford County Circuit Court.
Madden is accused of killing Stewart on March 2, 2011, in retaliation over drug allegations inside their shared off-campus apartment at Raider’s Crossings in Murfreesboro.
She has also been charged with tampering with evidence in the case.
According to the prosecution, Stewart was concerned about living with someone who smoked marijuana due to the university’s zero-tolerance drug policy.
Newman said coaches had warned Stewart, as well as her teammates, being around second-hand smoke might cause her to fail a random drug test, which could result in revocation of her athletic scholarship.
Prosecutors spent much of the day attempting to highlight the differences between the two women, detailing their habits and behavior in an effort to establish how animosity eventually boiled over into violence.
Newman presented Stewart as a hard-working, popular student-athlete devoted to her family, friends and loving boyfriend, K.C. Anuna.
In contrast, he portrayed Madden as an introverted troublemaker who felt neglected because Stewart’s jam-packed schedule prevented the two from spending much time together.
It was this on-going hostility that led to Stewart’s death when an argument erupted after Madden learned Stewart told Raider’s Crossing management and Murfreesboro Police Officer Timothy Jensen, who worked security for the complex, about her continued use of marijuana in the apartment, he said.
The altercation culminated with Madden grabbing a serrated knife from the kitchen and stabbing Stewart, only to then leave the 21-year-old junior guard lying on her bedroom floor bleeding to death, Newman said.
“She did nothing to render aid,” he said. “Madden chose to let her die. She never called 9-1-1.”
Defense attorney Joe Brandon Jr. countered tensions never existed between the two women until Anuna “took up residence at the apartment,” which caused Madden to feel extremely uncomfortable on multiple occasions.
“At one time, Madden called her (mother) and said, ‘I just got out of the shower and a man is here. What do I do?’” Brandon said, as he referred to an incident in which Anuna unexpectedly entered the apartment just as Madden was about to walk across the hall from her bathroom.
He said Madden’s actions after the stabbing could be construed as odd but only because she had never been in an altercation before and was in shock.
“There is some bizarre behavior, but if my client was trying to cover up a crime, she did a bad job,” Brandon said, adding Madden still had blood on her clothing when she was being interviewed by detectives at the Murfreesboro Police Department.
Brandon said Stewart started the fight over the drug allegations and refused to allow Madden to walk away, which put the 18-year-old freshman in fear for her safety. When Stewart began to hit her in the head, Madden pleaded with her to stop to no avail.
Madden then grabbed a knife that was on the bed, stabbed Stewart in the chest, and fled the room, he said.
However, Dr. Amy McMaster, who serves as the state’s chief medical examiner for the Middle Tennessee region, said Stewart suffered stab wounds to the chest, head, and shoulder, as well as abrasions on the back of her left arm.
“I determined the cause of death to be the stab wound to the chest,” McMaster said, adding Stewart could have possibly been stabbed from behind.
She said the injuries were consistent with a sharp object striking in a downward motion, which penetrated 2 inches from the right side of Stewart’s chest, just below the collarbone, puncturing the right lung and aorta in the heart.
“A person who receives these type of injuries would not be immediately incapacitated, but it would be difficult to breathe and there would be a significant amount of blood loss,” McMaster said. “If medical help is not given soon after being injured, death will ensue – the person will die.”
Prosecutors contend it would have been obvious Stewart was critically injured and needed medical attention, noting she likely died within 15 minutes after the attack.
“But, it was more important for Madden to finish her laundry than to get Stewart help,” Newman said.