Trial begins for La Crosse man who stabbed wife in front of kids

Defense Attorney argues stabbing was a split-second act

Opening arguments are underway in the case of a La Crosse man accused of stabbing his wife to death in front of five children.

Haron Joyner, 36, faces one count of First Degree Intentional Homicide.

According to the criminal complaint, La Crosse Police responded to a Domestic Disturbance call along fifth avenue south this past March. Officers found Jessica Joyner lying on the floor of her apartment, stabbed multiple times and bleeding.

“The victim was unresponsive. Her eyes were open, she wasn’t looking at anything, just staring at the ceiling. I took my flashlight to check pupil dilation and didn’t see any. She was taking big, deep breaths and letting them out all at once. I attempted to ask her questions but she was unresponsive at that point,” said La Crosse Police Department Officer Aaron Westpfahl.

Officers arrested Haron Joyner later that day.

His lawyer argues while the stabbing happened it was a split-second act of passion and emotion, and not a deliberate attack.

“We know it just took an instant. This was not a lengthy attack. But it took an instant. An instant we all wish you could take back. Less than two seconds. That’s the action. That’s the snap,” said Defense Attorney Michael Covey.

Joyner could face life in prison if convicted of First Degree Intentional Homicide.