A murder trial is set to begin this morning in Bellefonte for a State College man accused in the stabbing death of 20-year-old Tyler Struble in Lemont.
Tyler Marlatt, 21, is facing charges of first-, second- and third-degree murder and other counts from the Jan. 16 incident.
District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller expects defense attorney Ed Blanarik to claim self-defense to justify Marlatts killing of Struble.
President Judge Thomas King Kistler ruled against a motion prosecutors filed to bar Blanarik from telling the jury his client acted in self-defense when he killed Struble after a drug deal in January.
Parks Miller said Marlatt provoked the argument at Strubles house that became physical and ultimately fatal. She said Marlatt should have left the scene and was not in danger. She said Struble, on the other hand, did not have to leave as the attack happened at his home and he could have used deadly force against Marlatt under the Castle Doctrine.
Police said Marlatt and others went to Strubles place to reclaim their money and marijuana after a drug deal went wrong minutes before on Southgate Drive in State College. Police said Struble met with Marlatt and Marlatts girlfriend, Fatima Ghoul, but drove off without paying Ghoul $20 for pot.
Ghoul sent Struble a text message telling him he was in trouble and that their posse was on its way.
Marlatt has been awaiting trial in the county jail.
Ghoul pleaded guilty to robbery and drug charges and is awaiting her sentencing.