Woman ordered to stand trial in stabbing death

Neffertashia Burroughs will stand trial for the murder of Mantwell James, a judge ruled Wednesday (Sept. 5).

LANCASTER – After two days of testimony, a judge ruled Wednesday there is enough evidence for Neffertashia Ann Burroughs to stand trial for the murder of 25-year-old Mantwell James.

“Both the sheriff’s department and the DA’s office worked really hard, and I’m pleased that justice has been done,” said Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami.

“I feel like Tasha (Neffertashia) got just what she deserved, she needs to be in jail,” said James’ mother Yvonne Evans.

Burroughs, 21, is accused of stabbing James to death on Feb. 28 during a party at her home in the 44200 block of Cedar Avenue in Lancaster.  James died at the hospital.

Burroughs turned herself in to the Palmdale Station on May 2 to face charges in the Feb. 28 incident.

Burroughs has maintained that the stabbing was an accident, which happened after James attacked her in front of several witnesses. Two eyewitnesses testifying Tuesday said James and Burroughs had an argument that escalated into a fist fight, with James throwing the first punch. (Read more here).

Wednesday, prosecutors questioned a sheriff’s homicide detective and a county medical examiner.

Deputy medical examiner, Paul Giniecki, said he performed the autopsy and concluded that James died from a stab wound to the upper chest. The wound was seven to eight inches long and five and a half inches deep, Giniecki testified. James had a blood alcohol content of .03%, which is consistent with having one cup of alcohol, and no other drugs were found in his system, Giniecki testified.

Homicide detective, Brandt House, said detectives interviewed a third eyewitness in the case who saw Burroughs stab James once in the chest with a kitchen knife.

House said Eboni Taylor circled Burroughs’ image from a photo lineup and wrote the following message underneath the photo: “I saw Tasha (Neffertashia) stick Tweezy (Mantwell) one time after they were having an argument.”

Detectives were not able to recover the knife used in the stabbing, even after an exhaustive search of the residence, the front yard, the surrounding yards, and a nearby dumpster, House testified.

Burroughs went into hiding after the stabbing, prosecutors said. A sheriff’s department’s surveillance team checked several locations and were unable to locate Burroughs, House testified.

Defense attorney, Hung Du, said James and one of the eyewitnesses (Brian Outlaw) were members of the Bounty Hunters Bloods Gang. Du said Burroughs went into hiding because she was worried about gang retaliation.

“She reasonably believed she was in danger from a gang member,” Du said.

In arguing for a dismissal, Du said the stabbing was clearly an act of self-defense because Burroughs had asked James to leave her home, but instead he choked her, knocked her down, busted her lip and continued to pursue her even after he was stabbed.

James was Godfather to Burroughs’ children, his family members said.

Prosecutor Jonathan Hatami countered that Burroughs could have walked away before the stabbing occurred.

“She was not being choked or punched when she grabbed the knife… He challenged her to do it and she did it,” Hatami said.

He said by fleeing the scene and then going into hiding, Burroughs showed consciousness of guilt.

“She left a person that was dying and that person did die,” Hatami said. “She did not have to hide out for three months.”

After several minutes of reviewing the evidence, Superior Court Judge Christopher Estes acknowledged that the case was tough before denying the defense’s motion to dismiss the charges.

Burroughs was ordered to stand trial and remanded back to custody on $1,020,000 bail.

Several family members on both sides of the case attended Wednesday’s hearing. After the ruling, James’ family members hugged the prosecutor, while some of Burroughs’ family members wept.

“I couldn’t even believe she’s saying it was self-defense,” said James’ cousin Angela McKenzie. “I know my cousin, I was raised with him. Never in his life have I even seen him raise his hands to any type of female.”

“I want to see justice, my son doesn’t deserve to be dead,” said Evans. “He was too good to her.”

She also denied that James was a gang member.

“He ran with the Bounty Hunters but he never gang banged,” said Evans. “She’s a gang banger, and all her baby daddies are gang bangers.”

Burroughs is due back in court for a second arraignment on September 19.

Related articles:

Hearing reveals new details in fatal stabbing

Murder suspect surrenders, tells her story

Most Wanted: Woman who allegedly stabbed boyfriend to death in February

  9 comments for “Woman ordered to stand trial in stabbing death

  1. Dewayne
    September 5, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Whole thing is bad… But no woman should be getting beat by any man. Her having kids by some other man or not! With the whole gang affiliation thing, it’s seems that anyone that lived in LA and moved to the AV is going to be said to have gang ties. Let’s just face it, some ppl have moved out of the city to get away from it and some moved to continue it. You can say all ppl are bad( you just can’t). That so called mayor of Lancaster is the biggest crook/hoodlum in the Antelope Valley!

    • Letlow
      September 5, 2012 at 10:34 pm

      I don’t know about the criminal exploits of the Lancaster mayor, but I do agree with you on the woman beating thing.

      This young lady appears to be about 5’2″ and 115 lbs soaking wet. How could any man bring himself to throw a punch at this itty-bitty girl? And how could any man watching this not drag this guy to the floor after the first hit?

      Knock on wood, I have never seen a fist fight between a man and a woman. If I should come across one in the future, you best believe I would be breaking it up, whether or not I knew the people involved. This whole thing is one sad situation that should never have happened.

      @Tbone, call me naive but I just never assumed there was thug life out here in the sticks until I started reading about it in the past year or so. But I haven’t even been here for five years so what do I know…

  2. Letlow
    September 5, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    The more I read about this murder, the more it becomes like a twisted movie.

    Now, come to find out, they have affiliations with the Bloods gang. If I wanted the hustle and flow of a Los Angeles or Queens, I would be living in those cities. This is totally not what I expected when I came to the AV.

    Still, I can’t help but feel sorry for this little lady, 21 years old with 3 young ones likely spend the rest of her life in prison now. And for what? I can’t understand why nobody at this so called party did anything to stop this senseless murder.

    • realitycheck
      September 5, 2012 at 7:37 pm

      21 years old, three kids, and not married to any of “the baby daddies” and now a blood gang affiliation? Shocking! Thank you Lancaster for declaring war on these hoodrats!

      • Quigley
        September 5, 2012 at 8:01 pm

        It’s not shocking…it’s the way of the hood, no babies, no checks. If she wasn’t headed to her new home, she would be having more babies…ya know so her bills can get paid.

    • Concered
      September 5, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      Why feel sorry for her? Feel bad for the kids. It’s not their fault that Mom would just spread them, and get knocked up by any guy that wanted to have sex with her. Maybe she could have had them put on a condom, or possibly go get free birth control.

      I would love to hear how much she was getting on her EBT card every month.

      She didn’t have to stab the guy. I understand he was assaulting her, but even in the heat of the moment she didn’t have to go for a knife. She made a very bad choice, and now she will get to pay.

      Why are we even wasting the time on a trial? She did it, it wasn’t self defense. Just more money being lost by us tax payers.

      Funny how the article talks about how the fight started. Someone accuses her of having sex with someone other than her boyfriend. Guess that explains the 3 kids at 21.

    • T-Bone
      September 5, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      You must not have done your homework before you moved to the AV. Gangs have been a problem in the AV since the 80’s! Don’t act surprised now.

    • Tim Wright
      September 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm


      Now do you understand why so many longtime residents are pissed and want something done about this?

      Now you probably also understand why there is an element of racism in the frustration being expressed by people.

      • Letlow
        September 6, 2012 at 3:21 pm

        I understand where you’re coming from, but I don’t agree that this problem can justify any element of racism. Just because some people are criminals who happen to be Black, it doesn’t mean that all black people are criminals.

        To think in that fashion closes you off to all the upstanding law abiding black citizens. Do you think Lashinda Demus could thrive and be recognized if the city of Palmdale was racist and thought that ALL black people were criminals? What about the woman on the Lancaster Housing Authority (her name escapes me)?

        Be frustrated yes, but any element of racism is never okay, no matter what race we’re talking about.

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