Woman calls stabbing of boyfriend accident

Testimony at trial differs from what she told police initially; case goes to jury

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

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A Washougal woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend told jurors on Thursday a different story than she gave police on the night in question.

Tanya N. Quinata, 38, initially said on Oct. 14, 2010, that her boyfriend stabbed himself in the chest, police reported. Taking the stand as the only defense witness, she explained to the seven-women, five-men jury that she had lied because she panicked.

Promising this was the truth, she testified that 41-year-old Samuel Kama had walked into her knife as she was in the kitchen, preparing a sandwich. She described it as a “poke.”

“A poke?” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Camara Banfield questioned in her closing argument. A poke that caused a 2-inch knife wound that penetrated the heart and had caused Kama’s life-threatening injuries?

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Banfield said. “He would have had to be running at her for that level of force.”

Banfield blasted the defendant’s testimony, as the prosecutor and defense attorney Charles Buckley gave closing arguments late in the afternoon. After receiving the case after 4 p.m., the jury was sent home before reaching a verdict. Jurors will return Friday to resume deliberations.

Defendant’s mindset key

The four-day trial in Clark County Superior Court Judge John Wulle’s courtroom relates to the stabbing at the couple’s home in the 2100 block of 32nd Street. Quinata is charged with second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault.

Quinata testified the two had been arguing and Kama had packed his bags to leave when the injury took place.

That’s where the story varies depending on the prosecution and defense.

Banfield said Quinata had the motive: she was frustrated and angry because Kama was still married, even though he and Quinata lived together. The defendant had even left the home the night before because she was so upset, Banfield said.

But Quinata testified that she never wanted to kill Kama. She had no intent to harm him, she said.

Her mindset is what the case hinges on, Buckley said.

“What I submit to you is that the state has a case full of speculation,” the defense attorney said. “We’re missing significant evidence of intent.”

Buckley noted how the victim did not testify; neither did the surgeon who treated Kama. The case is full of supposition based on Quinata’s actions, he said.

Her actions clearly showed her intent, Banfield countered. The defendant stands 5 feet 1 inch, while the victim is 5 feet 7 inches.

“She had to raise her arm” to stab him and she knifed him with great force. She didn’t stab him in the arm or the leg, but the heart, the prosecutor said. “That shows her intent,” Banfield said.

Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts;www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker;laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.