By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR – The fatal Feb. 27 stabbing of a 30-year-old Rockwood man by a 23-year-old woman outside a house in the 6800 block of Merrick Street has been ruled self-defense.
Police Lt. Frank Canning said the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office denied the city’s warrant request, and cited that that woman acted in self-defense.
Jacob Lee Ratliff, 30, of Rockwood was in an altercation with Stacey Johnson, 23, of Detroit, about 9:56 p.m. Feb. 27 in the 6800 block of Merrick, in front of several witnesses, after which he walked to the outside of a nearby business, Janet’s School of Dance, at 20910 Ecorse Road.
Two witnesses from the Merrick location — Ratliff’s ex-girlfriend, Cynthia Johnson, 28, of Lincoln Park and Vladimir Zarka, 25, of New Boston — heard Ratliff scream after he walked away from the house, and went to check on him. When they found him near the business, bleeding from the neck, they call 911.
Police officers found Ratliff bleeding from the neck and applied pressure to the wound. When the man stopped breathing while awaiting medical rescue personnel, CPR was begun.
Ratliff was taken to Corewell Health Dearborn Hospital, where he died as a result of the knife wound.
According to witnesses and cell phone records, Ratliff had been threatening Cynthia Johnson, who had moved on from the relationship. He reportedly threatened to break the windows at the house where she was staying, harm her, set the house of fire and kill her.
When Cynthia Johnson returned to the Merrick location the night of Feb. 27, Ratliff was nearby, flashing a pocket knife.
Stacey Johnson, 23, cousin to Cynthia Johnson, who was at the house, grabbed a kitchen knife and went outside the house, yelling at Ratliff to leave the property and leave them alone. Witnesses say Ratliff was waving his knife at Stacey Johnson, and hitting her with his fists. She later told police officers that she thought that she had torn his jacket with her knife, and she hadn’t realized that she had stabbed him. She thought the blood on her hand was from the knife wound Ratliff inflicted on her.
Stacey Johnson later sought treatment for the knife wound to her hand, allegedly from Ratliff, at Corewell Health Taylor Hospital.
After she was treated, police officers interviewed her and other witnesses extensively. They also obtained a warrant and gathered evidence from the house and grounds where the altercation occurred.
Stacey Johnson said that Ratliff had been physically and emotionally abusive to her cousin during their relationship, and she had encouraged her cousin to end the relationship.