Defense Argues Self Defense During Closing Statements in Murder Case

Closing statements were made in a bench trial for a Baltimore man accused of murder on May 4 before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Jones

Eric Nash, 37, is charged with first-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon with intent to injure in connection to an event that occurred at the 200 block of South Ballou Court around 7 p.m. on November 9, 2020. 

Nash previously confessed to stabbing John Noel, 39, in an act of self defense as Noel allegedly attacked the defendant while he was inside his residence.

One of Nash’s defense attorneys, Robert Cohen, was adamant in his argument, during closing statements, that there was no evidence for any kind of motive for Nash to kill Noel except for in self defense.

The sequence of events laid out by Cohen in his argument involved Noel attacking Nash in a fit of rage, as a toxicology report showed that Noel was under the effects of cocaine, fentanyl and other drugs. He also referenced the report when looking at potential effects the drugs may have had on Noel. It is possible they may have numbed any pain that would have stopped him from continuing his attack, Cohen said.  

He asserted that Nash was incredibly cooperative with police throughout the entire process, and argued that it may have been cognitive bias on the part of police to treat him as a suspect rather than someone who acted in self defense.

The prosecutor argued that Nash acted unreasonably to kill Noel in the manner that he did. 

The prosecutor stated that self defense only applies if Nash was not the aggressor and if he was truly fearful for his life or serious bodily harm. 

The prosecutor said Nash acted in an aggressive manner during the confrontation, with 73 stab wounds found Noel’s body and more than 15 deep wounds, which damaged vital organs. The prosecutor said less violence would have been necessary to repel Noel and defuse the situation. 

The prosecutor also disagreed with the defense’s attorney’s assertion on how the drugs may have affected Noel’s behavior. 

The effects listed by Cohen were only possible effects and it is unknown how the drugs changed Noel’s behavior in reality, the prosecutor said.