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A Los Angeles Dodgers fan died Wednesday after a stabbing near the ballpark in San Francisco. Jonathan Denver, 24, of Fort Bragg, California, had just attended a baseball game against the Giants with his father, who works as a Dodgers security guard.
Denver was allegedly stabbed to death by Michael Montgomery, 21, of Lodi, the Los Angeles Times reports. Montgomery's father, however, claims that his son was only acting in self-defense.
There was an alleged altercation between victim and accused killer before the stabbing, but was this really an act of self-defense?
Team Rivalry May Be Linked to Death
According to the Associated Press, there are two suspects currently in custody as part of the investigation of Denver's death, but Montgomery's is the only name that has been released under suspicion of homicide.
Montgomery's father told the San Francisco Chronicle that Denver, after verbally sparring with Montgomery and his friends over the Giants, "swung a chair" and hit Montgomery in the head, leading to the fatal stabbing.
San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said at a press conference that in light of rumors that this death was sparked by the "storied" rivalry between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants, a killing like this was "just senseless."
Rivalry or not, Montgomery faces serious charges.
Self-Defense in Stabbing
Given the alleged facts, Montgomery could be charged with second degree murder, but he will not be eligible for the death penalty. Along with the fact that California has not executed anyone in the last six years, the state only offers the death penalty for capital murder offenses.
It is also likely that the stabber will be charged with voluntary manslaughter, which would assume that Montgomery was somehow adequately provoked by Denver into stabbing him.
In either case, self-defense can be a perfect defense to both manslaughter and murder charges. To make the defense work, Montgomery would need to prove that Denver posed an imminent threat to his life right before the stabbing.
While police have accused Montgomery in the fatal stabbing, the knife that was used in the attack has not been found, SFist reports. Investigators are also asking bystanders and nearby businesses to turn in any photos or videos that may have captured the incident.