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Self-Defense Option Sought in Wyoming Supreme Court Murder Case

john michael schnitker
Albany County Detention Center

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Supreme Court has heard arguments in the case of a man convicted of first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing a man to death in Laramie.

Attorneys for 31-year-old John Michael Schnitker argued Thursday he had the right to claim self-defense in the death of 59-year-old Clinton Gartman in 2015.

The high court took the arguments under advisement and will rule later.

Prosecutors say the confrontation happened after Schnitker began rummaging through Gartman’s truck on Gartman’s property. Gartman confronted Schnitker with an axe and Schnitker allegedly stabbed Gartman with a knife from the truck.

Gartman died later at a hospital.

A jury last year convicted Schnitker of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery. Jurors also convicted him of battery for attacking another man earlier that day.

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