American Fork • There was only one rule at the 2012 Independence Day party: No underage drinking allowed.
For most, it was easy enough to follow. But the defiance of one 15-year-old may have gotten the host killed, guests testified in 4th District Court this week.
That night, Keenan John Thompson rushed to the aid of his younger cousin, who had been confronted by guests at the party, prosecutors said.
In court on Thursday, Thompson pleaded not guilty to four charges in the fatal stabbing of William "K.C." Wright.
Thompson, 29, is charged with first-degree felony murder, second-degree felony obstruction of justice and third-degree felony counts of possession of a firearm by a restricted person and possession or use of a controlled substance.
Judge Thomas Low ordered Thompson to stand trial on the charges after hearing testimony from several witnesses who were at the party in July.
It all started when a neighbor came to the house to ask the partygoers to quiet down, testified Carston Terry, a friend of Wright’s.
The 15-year-old had come with an older woman. After Wright assured her they would be quiet and moved the party inside the house, the teen continued to sneak in and take beers from the home, Terry said.
He was asked to stop, told to leave.
"He kept trying to drink," testified Amanda Calton, another partygoer. "He was going and stealing beer, and he was being very disrespectful and rude. ... He got kicked out of the party a few times, because he wasn’t welcome there. He wasn’t old enough."
Amy Anderson, who was also at the party, said she and several others exchanged heated words with the teen until Wright intervened.
"He was trying to be the peacekeeper," Anderson said of Wright. "He was trying to explain to this little boy why he couldn’t be there."
But it wasn’t enough.
As the party began to wind down, witnesses said, the teen began to yell threats from across the street.
"The kid said his cousin was coming to kill all of us," Terry said. "We didn’t really take him seriously."
Minutes later, a car came to a screeching halt in front of the house. Terry said he and Wright thought there had been an accident, that someone who had been drinking tried to drive home.
They went outside to investigate.
Thompson was seated in the front seat of the car as Wright began to approach, Terry said.
"K.C. had his arms out like, ‘Hey, man, everything’s fine. Everything’s OK. Nothing happened,’ " Terry said. "That’s when I seen him — Keenan — get out of the car."
According to a probable cause statement, Thompson told police that a man rushed toward him as he exited his car, so he grabbed a knife and began "swinging at the male with his fists," the document states.
Terry testified Thompson did a "360-type motion" and spun toward Wright. He didn’t see any blows exchanged, he said, but he heard the "ting" of metal before Thompson moved away from Wright and climbed back in his car.Next Page >
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.