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Stabbing death details becoming clearer

Police say stabbing may be the result of marijuana theft
By: Laura Newell, Telegraph Staff Writer
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Details are emerging in the case of the recent Folsom stabbing. Folsom’s Minor Leon, 19, was killed in an Oct. 1 East Bidwell Street altercation with Joshua Allen Atkins, a 22-year-old transient from Folsom. According to police, the stabbing may have been the result of a drug deal gone bad. Atkins is facing murder charges in Sacramento County Superior Court. His next court date is Thursday, Oct. 27. According to Sgt. Jason Browning, with the Folsom Police Department, the cause of death was a single stab wound to the side of the torso, causing major injuries to Leon’s organs. “As far as we know, Atkins was the only suspect involved in the stabbing,” Browning said. “We understand the tragedy of the situation, but we want to work to end these kinds of violent acts. It’s always a surprise in Folsom when this sort of tragedy occurs.” Browning said marijuana was the drug involved. “This just shows that there is no exception to anything with value from marijuana to harder drugs,” Browning said. “Whenever there is a drug transition, there is a potential for violence.” Some residents are speaking out in defense of Atkins, saying the stabbing was an act of self-defense. According to a MyFolsom.com post by an anonymous witness going by the handle Livedheretoolong, the incident began with Leon allegedly stealing a backpack belonging to Atkins. The witness wrote, “Many people are misinformed on the circumstances of this situation. I … was at the scene when this happened. …Both of them ran by me (and) the victim had the backpack in his hand. Josh was right behind him and did not have a weapon in his hand. I don’t know exactly what happened when they ran around the corner; but it’s entirely possible the victim pulled the knife from the bag and that this is a self defense situation. … (Minor) planned on robbing Josh, his friends were at the scene before the cops were, they were waiting around the corner for him in case (Atkins) gave chase. These kids are known for jumping people in groups … The backpack was missing from the scene (and) the victim’s friends were leaving the scene as the cops showed up. … (I) gave my statement to the police.” According to Emily Widner on the Telegraph’s website, the stabbing was self defense. “I was there when it did happen. Myself and about six other kids had to be kept and questioned until 3 a.m. (Oct. 2) … None of this would have happened if Minor was what you call a ‘good kid.’ … Minor … ran off with Josh’s things. … Josh ran after Minor and that’s when the fight happened. … I do not support the fact that he killed the young kid, but he did what he had to do to protect himself.” According to court records, Leon had a long criminal history. In May 2010, Leon was also charged with four felony counts. Three were assault with a deadly weapon and one was battery with serious bodily injury. All were dismissed except for one assault charge. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and another 180 days in July for probation violations. Leon was on probation at the time of his 2010 charges. Anything prior to these charges is sealed since he was under the age of 18. On Sept. 2, 2011, Leon (while on probation) was charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon, which was dismissed, and battery with serious bodily injury, a misdemeanor, to which he pleaded no contest. Leon was initially charged with both of these acts as felonies. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and was in his first court appearance on July 22. Josh Levine, 25, was Leon’s youth pastor at Powerhouse Ministries in Folsom, and knew him since he was 5 years old. “He was a good kid who went through some rough years,” Levine said. “While Minor did hang out with a tougher crowd, he was always one of the really gentle, respectful and honest guys in his group. He was not a gang member.” According to court records, this is Atkins’ first run in with the law. ~ Don Chaddock contributed to this report