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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Man Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter Two Years After Fatally Stabbing Friend in Fort Thomas

The scene on S. Fort Thomas Avenue. 

On June 16 2016, Harold "Hank" Shouse fatally stabbed his long-time acquaintance, Donnie Smith, after a verbal and physical altercation began near Shouse's workplace on S. Fort Thomas Avenue.

Both men were from Fort Thomas, and had known each other since childhood.

Today, over two years later, he pled guilty in Campbell County Circuit Court to Manslaughter in the Second Degree, which carries a 5-10 year sentence.

Shouse's pled guilty to a reduced charge given from the grand jury because of his claim of self-defense.

Judge Daniel Zalla will be sentence Shouse on August 6 at 8:30 a.m.

RELATED: Man Dies, Man Charged in Stabbing in Fort Thomas 

Shouse was originally charged with Manslaughter and has been held on a $100,000 cash bond in the Campbell County Detention Center since the incident.

In November of that year, Shouse's public defender has filed a motion to dismiss the indictment.

In documents filed on October 11, 2016 and obtained by Fort Thomas Matters, Shouse's defender, Andrea Kendall, is asking the court to dismiss the manslaughter charge against Shouse because "he was justified in using force to repel Mr. Smith's repeated and unrelenting attempts to attack him and prevent Mr. Shouse from a felony involving the use of force."

"Unfortunately for everyone involved," the motion read, "the small knife Mr. Shouse carried in his pocket punctured Mr. Smith's heart."

Shouse. Campbell County Detention Center. 
In that motion, Kendall describes what led up to the stabbing.

"Shouse, who was an employee of Fort Thomas Pizza, said he woke up and went to check on Fort Thomas Pizza since the power was out from a storm that came through the area the night before. He said he checked on the food in the freezer to see what he could save and what needed to be thrown out. He then said he was going to call (redacted) and let (them) know the power was still out and maybe they could ice down the beer to open the business to sell beer.

He then said he had a couple beers with (redacted). Shouse said he decided to go back to Fort Thomas Pizza and check on the business again. This time while checking on the business he was outside in the front of Fort Thomas Pizza talking to a customer, when Donald Smith came up to him and began cussing and threatening him. Shouse said Smith began to walk away and the two of them were still arguing while Smith was walking. Shouse remained in front of Fort Thomas Pizza. Shouse said Smith was almost (a block south) when he tuned around and started walking towards him again. Shouse said (another employee) was in between him and Smith and that Smith was yelling and cussing at Shouse and continued to come back irate.

Shouse said he doesn't remember exactly when but as Smith was walking back he reached into his pocket and pulled out his pocket knife.

Shouse said when Smith was close to him and (redacted), Smith lunged at them and that's when Shouse stabbed Smith. Shouse said after he stabbed Smith, Smith grabbed his chest and said something, but wasn't sure what he said and started walking away from him and (redacted).

Smith then staggered out into the road where he collapsed. Shouse stated he laid down the knife and walked over to Smith and began asking for people to help Smith and for someone to call 911.

Shouse himself said he tired to call 911 but his phone was still on airplane mode. Shouse said he wanted to help Smith but was unable to do anything. When Shouse was asked why he stabbed Smith he said he was scared. When asked why he was scared he said Smith had a look in his eyes. Shouse said he didn't want Smith to hurt (redacted) or him and also didn't know if Smith was going to try and damage Fort Thomas Pizza.

When Shouse was asked why Smith was upset with him he stated he didn't know. Shouse said he and Smith had been friends for a long time and that he once lived with Smith at his residence. Shouse said he and Smith had been in fights before but nothing like this.

(Police) told Shouse that Smith had died. Shouse became upset and said that he thought Smith was out of his mind and he was going to do some (expletive) to him."

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