Opening statements in the murder case against John Bolton began Thursday with an argument from Bolton’s attorney that Bolton was acting in self-defense when he shot 41-year-old Christopher Fletcher.
“To prevent Mr. Fletcher from stabbing him… Bolton fired the gun,” defense attorney Amanda Davis said. Bolton, Davis said, “wasn’t trying to kill” Fletcher.
Prosecutors have said that Fletcher was ultimately killed when he and Bolton got into an argument at a neighborhood cookout in Southeast Washington in 2011.
Bolton, according to charging documents, approached Fletcher at the cookout and “kissed him as if he was a female.” In opening statements, prosecutors described the action as a kiss on Fletcher’s forehead.
The kiss, though, started an argument between the men which prosecutors say ended with Bolton pulling out a gun and trapping Fletcher against the ground. Prosecutors say he then shot Fletcher in the chest, killing him.
Davis, Bolton’s attorney, argued that Fletcher was drunk and “out of control” at the cookout. Bolton was on his way to his car to leave the cookout and avoid a conflict when Fletcher approached him and pulled out a knife, Davis said.
Paramedics found a Four Loko can in Fletcher’s jacket pocket along with some vials, but did not find a weapon.
A jury was selected in the case Wednesday and opening arguments were held Thursday. The trial is scheduled to continue Friday.