MIAMI — A former Florida International University student was convicted of murder Wednesday in the fatal stabbing of Kendall Barry, a school football player from Haines City.
A Miami-Dade County jury found Quentin Wyche, 25, guilty of second-degree murder with a deadly weapon. He faces a possible life sentence.
Barry, a running back at FIU, played football and ran track at Haines City High School.
Wyche admitted to stabbing the 22-year-old Berry in the heart outside the campus recreation center in March 2010. But defense attorney David Peckins said Berry and several teammates had attacked Wyche, who was acting in self-defense.
“Football is a violent game,” Peckins told jurors during closing arguments. “They’re trained to be physical, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but not when they’re picking fights with people.”
But Miami-Dade prosecutor Ray Araujo said Wyche reportedly threatened to kill Berry before the stabbing and then taunted the Berry’s friends afterward, saying, “That’s what you get for messing with me.”
“Those are not the word s of someone who is in fear,” Araujo said. “Those are the words of a murderer.”
The Miami Herald reports that tension between Berry and Wyche had started earlier that day, when Wyche reportedly smashed a cookie in the face of the football player’s girlfriend. She told Berry, who gathered some teammates and went to the recreation center to confront Wyche.
Peckins said Wyche tried to retreat, but the players chased him down.
One witness for the prosecution, however, said that Wyche actually ran away from the fight, retrieved a pair of scissors from his backpack and then returned to attack Berry.
“I’m gonna get him. I’m gonna get him. I’m gonna kill him,” former FIU student ChidinmaOrj recalled Wyche saying just moments before the stabbing.