‘You’re going to die tonight:’ He claims stabbing in Bonney Lake woods was self-defense

A homeless man suspected of stabbing an 18-year-old in the woods near Bonney Lake told police he was only defending himself and his girlfriend.

Authorities didn’t buy it.

The 38-year-old pleaded not guilty to first-degree assault Tuesday and was ordered jailed in lieu of $75,000.

The victim is recovering from a punctured lung and punctured liver.

Charging documents give this account:

The victim and four friends decided to walk to a fast food restaurant around midnight Thursday.

Lagging behind because he was on the phone, the victim eventually caught up to the group and told his friends he was being followed.

They got food and were walking home when the suspect confronted them while holding a large branch.

He allegedly asked the victim if the group was going to jump him and a confrontation ensued.

The victim punched the suspect twice because he feared being hit with the branch, records say.

He didn’t realize he’d been stabbed until he stepped back.

Police used a K-9 to search the woods between state Route 410 and South Prairie Road but could not initially find the assailant or the scene where the stabbing took place.

Eventually, officers tracked down the homeless man, and he admitted that he and his girlfriend were in the woods that night, court records show.

He claimed one of the victim’s friends told him, “You’re going to die tonight,” and assaulted his girlfriend.

“The defendant said he was scared and he pulled a knife from his right pocket,” prosecutors wrote in charging papers.

The suspect said a scuffle broke out when the victim lunged at him and quickly ended when the group of men left the woods.

He told police he was unaware he’d stabbed anyone and tossed the knife in the woods.

Stacia Glenn covers crime and breaking news in Pierce County. She started with The News Tribune in 2010. Before that, she spent six years writing about crime in Southern California for another newspaper.