A jury began deliberations Friday in the case of the Los Angeles man charged with the stabbing murder of a USC film student last September during a street brawl that started over the noise from a slammed gate.

Travion T. Ford, 25, pleaded not guilty in the death of Bryan R. Frost, 23, and said he had stabbed him with a kitchen knife as a "last resort" to save his own life. Ford testified that he was gasping for breath as Frost, a former West Point cadet who friends said was drunk that night, pinned him on the ground outside Ford's mother's apartment near USC.

During the two-week trial, prosecutors said that Ford deserved a murder conviction. They contended that Ford, after a first round of fighting, ran into the apartment, grabbed the knife and then returned to the street to stab Frost in the heart. "This is not a self-defense case. It is a murder case," Deputy Dist. Atty. Kennes Ma told jurors.

Ford could face a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in prison if convicted of murder.

-- Larry Gordon

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