Family says children watched fatal Hancock Co. stabbing

Family says children watched fatal Hancock Co. stabbing
Kenneth Fanning (Photo source: Family Photo)
Kenneth Fanning (Photo source: Family Photo)

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A Hancock County man charged with fatally stabbing his sister-in-law's boyfriend was in court Tuesday. Clinten Dryer, 32, is charged with the April 12, murder of Kenneth Fanning, 29. Hancock County investigators said the fatal stabbing happened at Dryer's house off Highway 90 after a child's birthday party.

Family members said both the victim's and the suspect's children watched the deadly altercation.

In court Tuesday, a detective testified that Dryer and Fanning got into an argument because Dryer did not want Fanning to drive home after drinking. They say that argument lead to Dryer stabbing Fanning 11 times.

Dryer's attorney, Donald Rafferty, argued the stabbing was in self-defense. Rafferty said Dryer was put in a choke hold and couldn't function for a few seconds until Fanning's girlfriend told him to let go.

After that, Dryer went inside to grab something, came back outside and according to Rafferty, Fanning grabbed Dryer from behind so Dryer stabbed him.

Dryer's 13-year-old step daughter told sheriff's deputies that's not how it happened. She said the two men were facing each other fighting when the stabbing happened.

An investigator also told the judge the stab wounds are not consistent with Dryer's story. Fanning was stabbed in the head, heart, chest and shoulder. Authorities do not believe Dryer could have done that if he was in a choke hold.

Fanning's girlfriend described Fanning as a good father and hard worker. She said their young children watched their dad die. While they are too young to fully understand it, they do know their daddy will never come home.

Rafferty asked the judge to dismiss the case because it was self-defense or to lessen the charge to manslaughter. The judge, however, ruled there is enough evidence to send the murder case to a grand jury and refused to reduce Dryer's bond.

Dryer remains in jail on a $250,000 bond.

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