Stabbing suspect Clayton Courtney bound over for trial

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Frank Schultz
Monday, May 19, 2014

JANESVILLE—A man accused of stabbing his roommate in a bloody fight at their east-side residence May 4 was bound over for trial in Rock County Court on Monday.

Clayton J. Courtney, 28, is expected to enter a plea in the case at an arraignment at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Courtney faces attempted first-degree intentional homicide and related charges in the case.

Courtney also is being investigated in the death of Britney N. Cross, 21, of Indianford.

Courtney is the only suspect in the Cross case, police have said. The district attorney's office is waiting for Janesville police to complete its investigation into her death.

Police Chief Dave Moore said Monday he had nothing new to announce about the Cross case.

In court Monday, defense attorney Josh Klaaf objected to some of the testimony of the only witness, a Janesville police officer.

Klaff also argued the prosecution did not prove Courtney intended to kill Michael Clark.

Court Commissioner Stephen Meyer overruled most of Klaff's objections and ruled that a felony probably had been committed and that Courtney probably committed it. Those are the two standards that must be met for the court to order a trial.

Janesville police officer Nicholas Drout's testimony closely followed the criminal complaint, so few new details emerged about what might have happened.

Drout said that during a fight at the house they shared, Courtney said at least three times that he and Clark were going to die that night.

Drout said the only knife wound—close to Clark's armpit and shoulder—required 14 stitches internally and 10 more to the skin.

Klaff objected several times, saying that Sullivan's questions called for Drout to speculate about Clark's supposed belief that Courtney intended to kill him and the competency of the doctor who treated Clark at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center.

“This officer is clearly not competent to answer as to the doctor's competency,” Klaff said.

Meyer overruled the objection, and Drout testified that the doctor had said the downward thrust of the knife was “potentially lethal.”

Drout also testified that Clark said that Courtney had threatened to cut the fetus from Clark's girlfriend and moved toward her, but Courtney tripped because Clark had pushed the tipped-over refrigerator in front of him.

Only Clark's “bravery” kept Courtney from getting to the woman, Sullivan said.

Klaff's cross-examination of Drout was mainly about what happened during the fight in the house's kitchen and garage.

Drout acknowledged that Courtney lived in the house with Clark, his girlfriend and their two children and that Clark fought Courtney as well as visa versa.

Cross was a friend of Courtney's. Her body was found behind a vacant building near the Rock River on North Main Street and the Rock River the morning after the stabbing.

Police suspect Courtney killed Cross and then returned to his residence, 1602 N. Pontiac Drive, Janesville, the same night and assaulted Clark while high on cocaine and alcohol.

At Monday's hearing, Clark said he had last seen Courtney about 4 p.m. Officers were called to the residence around 10 p.m.

During the fight with Clark, Courtney is alleged to have said he had already killed three people.

Police have taken that statement seriously, asking for the public's help in learning whether Courtney has done or said anything suspicious in the past.

The stabbing case has been assigned to Judge James Daley.

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