Norwich police say homicide victim stabbed during 911 call

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Norwich police say stabbing victim Jason Beck called 911 from his Sandy Lane apartment Saturday night and spoke to a dispatcher while his longtime partner stood over him and continued to stab him.

Beck, 33, begged Jeffrey T. Stovall Jr. to stay away from him during the call, while telling the dispatcher that Stovall had stabbed him again, this time in the leg, according to a police report.

Information about the incident is contained in a police report that was released Tuesday following Stovall's arraignment in Superior Court in Norwich on charges of murder and violation of a criminal protective order.

Related story: Domestic violence agency wants public to know that free, confidential services are available

Stovall, 22, met Officer Jared Nelson at the stairwell door and led him to Beck, who was lying on the kitchen floor, conscious but unable to speak, according to the report. Nelson handcuffed Stovall and read him his rights after Stovall admitted he had stabbed Beck, the report said. Stovall later admitted to detectives that the two men had been fighting about Stovall's pending domestic violence charge in Waterbury Superior Court.

Beck was taken to The William W. Backus Hospital following the 8:05 p.m. 911 call and was pronounced dead at 8:58 p.m., according to the police report. The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner performed an autopsy and ruled the cause of death homicide due to sharp force injuries of the torso and extremities.

Stovall appeared before Judge Francis J. Foley III in a blue paper jumpsuit and shackles and said "Yes" in a low voice when the judge asked whether he understood his rights. The judge set Stovall's bond at $500,000, ordered a suicide and mental health watch, and transferred the case to the New London court where major crimes are tried.

The victim's mother, Jeanette Kenney, and stepfather, Edward Kenney, were in the court with another unidentified man. The  mother said that Beck was a gentle person who had never been arrested and who was "fooled" by Stovall. Beck and Stovall had been living together in Oakville until Stovall was charged with assaulting Beck and issued a criminal protective order prohibiting him from having contact with Beck, according to the police. Beck moved to Norwich in November, and Stovall, who had been staying at a shelter in Massachusetts, returned to Connecticut after the death of a family member, according to testimony in court. He had been staying with Beck for five days when the stabbing occurred, according to police.

Stovall, in a signed confession, told police the two men had met on Grindr, an online dating service for gay, bi, trans and queer people, in 2012 when Stovall was 15, and had been involved in an intimate relationship since then.

He said on Saturday, they were watching a Netflix show when they started arguing about what time Stovall would leave the next morning to return to Massachusetts and about Beck "not helping the accused enough with his court case." Stovall said they started pushing and shoving each other, and Beck pushed him to the kitchen floor.  

Stovall said he got scared and grabbed a knife from the kitchen drawer and stabbed Beck after Beck said, "What are you going to do, you're not going to call the police," according to the report. Stovall said he stabbed Beck as Beck appeared to be calling the police on his cellphone and stabbed him again after Beck fell onto the floor, because he thought Beck was going to get up.

Stovall said he took the phone and dialed 911 as Beck lay face-down on the kitchen floor asking for help. He said he handed Beck the phone, and hung up the phone when Beck was done with the call, telling him help was on the way. Stovall said he took the knife and washed it off in the kitchen sink, then put on more clothes because he knew the police were on the way.

Police said they recovered a knife and other items of evidence after securing a search warrant.

Stovall's next court date is Feb. 3 in New London. He still has the earlier domestic violence charges in Waterbury Superior Court, along with two counts of failure to appear in court on those charges.

Police listed Stovall's address as 8 Malden St., Worcester, Mass., in their report to the prosecutor. The stabbing incident occurred at 31 Sandy Lane, Norwich, a brick apartment building with four units.

k.florin@theday.com

Editor's Note: This version corrects Judge Francis J. Foley III's name.

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