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Self-defense claimed in football alum’s stabbing

The man charged in the stabbing death of former USF football player Elkino Watson claims he did so out of self-defense, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Randolph Graham, 23, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Watson outside an Ybor City nightclub Sept. 6. He is also charged with attempted murder for wounding Desmond Horne, who attempted to walk-on at USF during the spring.

During a hearing Wednesday in a Hillsborough County courtroom, Graham’s attorney, Jonathan Hackworth, argued that Graham attempted to defend himself from the 23-year-old Watson and others during a scuffle at The Orpheum, where an after-party event was being held to celebrate USF’s season-opening victory over Florida A&M.

“(Watson) had his hand over his head and then charged at my client,” Hackworth told the court. “This is a clear case of self-defense.”

Prosecutors, however, say it was Graham who instigated the situation by pestering Watson’s girlfriend, Diamond Hall, when she refused to give him her phone number. He then allegedly challenged Watson as he tried to leave the club around 3 a.m. 

Once outside, the two purportedly exchanged words before Graham pulled out a knife and began stabbing Watson repeatedly, including once with Watson’s back turned trying to break up a separate altercation between Horne and another patron. 

Watson, a former four-star recruit and father of two, managed to run away from Graham down East 7th Avenue before eventually collapsing on 20th Street. He was transported to Tampa General Hospital where he later died. Horne was admitted with non-life threatening injuries.

Graham, meanwhile, fled the scene. He turned himself into Tampa Police two days later after club surveillance images showed him present at the time of the killing. He is currently being held in jail on a $200,000 bond.