Kansas City man accused of fatally stabbing neighbor as they fought at fence: Charges

Google Maps

A 61-year-old man is charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of his neighbor, which authorities say unfolded after the men argued at a wrought-iron fence separating two Kansas City apartment buildings on Saturday night.

David F. Cornell, of Kansas City, is charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the killing of 31-year-old James Fisher, documents filed in Jackson County Circuit Court show. Cornell was being held in the Jackson County jail as of Monday on a $250,000 cash-only bond.

According to charging documents, Kansas City police officers were dispatched around 8:30 p.m. to the 500 block of Gladstone Boulevard on a report of a cutting. In the yard officers located Fisher on the ground as a neighbor was performing CPR.

Police officers took over the life-saving measures, court papers say, until Kansas City Fire Department paramedics arrived and declared Fisher dead on scene.

Witnesses told police Fisher had been hanging out and drinking with two women outside of his apartment building that night. At one point, Cornell allegedly yelled down from the second-floor balcony of his neighboring apartment building and so began the verbal argument between the men.

One witness, who was waiting in her parked car outside her friend’s apartment building, told investigators Fisher challenged Cornell to “come down here and fight.” Cornell allegedly replied: “Okay, I’ll grab my shoes,” according to court papers.

Words were exchanged by the men again shortly after Cornell came downstairs, the witnesses told police. Then the men allegedly traded blows, each standing on the opposite side of a 4-foot-tall fence separating their two apartment buildings.

Afterward, witnesses reported seeing blood coming from Fisher’s neck as he asked for someone to call 911 and then collapsed. The Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office later found that Fisher had suffered a single fatal stab wound to his neck.

Kansas City police officers knocked on Cornell’s apartment door that night. He was arrested after answering, then put in a patrol wagon. Police allege Cornell uttered “I did it in self-defense” as he was being driven to the police station.

During an interview with detectives at Kansas City police headquarters, Cornell allegedly said he did not know Fisher’s name but recognized him from around the apartments. He told them he overheard Fisher “getting loud” with two females and decided to intervene by yelling downstairs, a detective wrote in charging documents.

As he was being interviewed, Cornell allegedly told police he “instinctively” struck Fisher with the knife after being punched. He told police they could find the knife behind the trash can in his kitchen. It was collected as evidence from that described location as police served a search warrant in Cornell’s apartment, according to court records.

As of Monday, Jackson County court records did not list a defense attorney for Cornell who could speak on his behalf.