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Sirens & Gavels

Accused killer backs out of deal

A man arrested in a fatal stabbing last year turned down a plea deal today that would have sent him to prison for two years on riot charges.

Instead, Christopher Harper, 28, will go to trial on one count of second-degree murder for the March 3, 2009, stabbing death of Michael " Mickey" Lyng, 19. He was scheduled to be sentenced today but backed out, said his public defender, Al Rossi.

Trial is set for late February. Harper is the last of three defendants facing charges for Lyng's death.

His younger brother, Joseph T. Harper, 25, was sentenced to 75 months in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter in December. Robert T. Waters, 28, was sentenced to 65 months on Wednesday after pleading to the same charge.

"Each person who was arrested was in a little bit of a different circumstance," Rossi said.

Joseph Harper stabbed Lyng in the upper back, but the fatal stab wound came from a larger knife wielded by one of his co-defendants, Harper’s public defender, Dick Sanger, said last month.

Chris Harper's wife, Amie C. Schott, 20, is accused of driving the Harper brothers from the scene of the crime. She's scheduled to go to trial next month on three counts of first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

Schott married Christopher Harper after he was in jail and unsuccessfully asked a judge in July to lift a no-contact order between them.

Lyng was at Joseph Harper’s home, 1008 W. Spofford Ave., when he stepped into a fight between Harper and another man over allegations that Harper had hit the man’s girlfriend.

Shortly after the fight, Lyng was at an apartment at 916 W. Augusta Ave. when he had a threatening telephone conversation with one of the defendants.

The three men showed up outside the apartment, and a brawl ensued before Lyng was stabbed.

Detectives recovered two knives – one from under the Maple Street Bridge – believed to be used in the killing.

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