Mardale Totten

Stabbing was self-defense; man ID'd

Police believe the stabbing was the result of a domestic dispute

September 28, 2009

Fort Wayne Police said the fatal stabbing of a city man at 4 a.m. Saturday by a woman he knew was inflicted in self-defense, although ruled the city's 16th homicide.

The woman, who had been taken into custody after police said she stabbed 30-year-old Mardale Totten in the neck at an apartment at 708 Oaklawn Court, in Chapel Oaks complex, was interviewed, then released without being charged, according to Office Roy Sutphin of the Fort Wayne Police Department.

“We don't release people when we know they killed somebody,” said Sutphin. “And we just don't release people who could be a danger to the public.”

After interviewing several witnesses and the woman, Sutphin said police believe the stabbing was the result of a domestic dispute between Totten, who has a prison record for violence, and the woman. What the domestic dispute exactly entailed, Sutphin would not comment.

“The investigation is ongoing, but for the moment, until proven otherwise, we're going on the aspect that it was along the lines of self-defense,” Sutphin said.

Totten's death was ruled the city's 16th homicide of 2009 by the Allen County Coroner's Office.

On Saturday, police responding to the Oaklawn Court address found Totten unconscious and bleeding. He was treated at the scene before being rushed to a local hospital, where he later died.

Sutphin said that because the woman has not been charged with any crime, police are not required to release her name.

When Totten was 18, he was convicted of stabbing his uncle, Marquas K. Smith, to death in 1997. He served 10 years of a 15-year sentence for aggravated battery before being released in 2008, according to the Indiana Department of Corrections.


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