Crime & Courts

Hickory man to face no charges in fatal stabbing of stepdad

Derek Lane McAdams, 33, acted in self-defense when he stabbed his stepfather, Tony William Johnson, 50, during a domestic dispute in this home they shared on Cloninger Mill Road in Hickory, District Attorney David Learner said.
Derek Lane McAdams, 33, acted in self-defense when he stabbed his stepfather, Tony William Johnson, 50, during a domestic dispute in this home they shared on Cloninger Mill Road in Hickory, District Attorney David Learner said. WBTV

A Hickory man will not be charged in the Aug. 4 stabbing death of his stepfather, Catawba County District Attorney David Learner said Thursday.

Derek Lane McAdams, 33, acted in self-defense when he stabbed his stepfather, Tony William Johnson, 50, during a domestic dispute in the home they shared on Cloninger Mill Road, Learner said.

Johnson died at Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory about an hour after the stabbing.

Learner said McAdams was defending himself and his mother, Teresa Johnson, when Tony Johnson “physically and verbally assaulted them.”

“It’s tragic, very unfortunate,” Learner said in a statement. “But it was, in fact, a situation of very intense domestic violence that unfortunately resulted in the death of Mr. Johnson. There was no criminal intent, and this was not a criminal act.”

Tony Johnson returned to the home and attacked McAdams in his room, Learner said a police investigation showed. When the fight broke up, Tony Johnson turned his anger toward his wife and began shouting at her in their bedroom, according to police.

McAdams stepped into the room with a knife to defend his mother when Tony Johnson again attacked him, Learner said the investigation showed. Pushed against a bookshelf, McAdams swung the knife and stabbed his stepfather in the neck, Learner said. McAdams pushed Tony Johnson off him and went outside until police arrived.

Learner said witness accounts from McAdams’ mother, sister Christi McAdams and girlfriend Heather Lemacks were consistent with the statement McAdams gave to investigators when he was taken into custody.

“All of the physical evidence was also consistent with the eyewitness accounts of the event,” Learner said.

He said the police conducted “a meticulous investigation that all points to Mr. McAdams defending himself and his mother. The Hickory Police Department did a very thorough job investigating this case.”

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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