CROWN POINT | One of two men alleged to have struck 23-year-old Jeffrey Nemcek the day Nemcek stabbed a Crown Point man on the courthouse square admitted to punching Nemcek during the altercation.
Nemcek, also of Crown Point, is on trial for murder in the Thanksgiving Day stabbing of Brandon Huseman, 26.
During two hours of testimony Friday, Anthony Kuhns said he punched Nemcek once in the face as Nemcek walked toward him after Nemcek got up from being knocked into the street by Steven Egan.
Kuhns and Egan were among a party of six people who were walking on Court Street early Thanksgiving Day after a night out when encountered by Nemcek.
Earlier witnesses testified that Nemcek said it looked like the group needed a designated driver, which drew retorts from the group.
The exchange degenerated rapidly, with Kuhns testifying he did not see Huseman, the slightest of the three men in the party, holding up his arms saying, "Guys, guys, we're not going to do this."
Nor did he see Egan throwing Nemcek to the ground and into the street with such force that Nemcek lost a shoe, Kuhns testified.
Kuhns disputed previous witness testimony alleging one of the women attempted to pull him back from the altercation by yanking his arm.
Kuhns described a calmer scene, testifying the woman took his arm saying, "Let's get out of here."
Defense attorney Kevin Milner sought to discredit Kuhns' recollections of the events, questioning how he failed to notice details of events happening within feet of him.
When Milner questioned his drinking, Kuhns admitted to drinking for five or six hours with little to eat before the altercation with Nemcek at 1:35 a.m.
Apprehended within 15 minutes of the altercation but not charged for two months, Nemcek is alleged not to have been intoxicated at the time of the incident.
The trial is expected to continue Monday in Lake Criminal Court.