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Trial continues for Cape Coral woman accused of fatally stabbing mother

Mariya Kelly in court
Posted at 10:10 PM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 05:58:10-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The trial for a Cape Coral woman accused of killing her mother will continue after a judge had the chance to dismiss the case Friday.

22-year-old Mariya Kelly is charged with manslaughter for the death of her mother, Melissa West. West was reportedly stabbed in the lungs and later died at a local hospital.

Friday, for the first time since the stabbing, Kelly spoke out about the events from that night.

Before the hearing, Judge Robert Branning said her trial will continue and Kelly reiterated the story she told investigators back in June 2020 after police say she admitted to stabbing her mother.

"My mom just darted towards me and started flailing her arms and started hitting me in my head and shoulders," Kelly said while on the stand. "She continues to hit me and she’s hurting me, and my daughter is right next to me, and she is being reckless. Before you know it, I had an instinct reaction and I just stabbed her."

June 17, 2020, police were called to the home regarding a stabbing. Kelly was arrested. Nearly two years later, during her pre-trial, Kelly is sticking with her story that this was an act of self-defense because she feared for her life.

Mariya Kelly's Mugshot
Mariya Kelly's mug shot after being arrested for the killing of her mother.

"I have already asked her to not act like that in front of my daughter and not to hit me like that,” Kelly said.

State's attorney countered Kelly's story, saying if anyone had a case for self-defense it was West. The state called Kelly's younger brother to the stand. He said he was sleeping when heard his mom and half-sister argue.

During his testimony, he said he woke up and saw Kelly waving a knife at their mom and their mom was trying to knock it out of Kelly's hand.

"She can't bring a knife to the fight and claim self-defense when her mom is trying to get the knife out of her hands," said State Attorney Sarah Miller.

When Judge Branning announced that the trial will continue, an outpouring of emotions spurred out from West's family and friends.

The trial is set to start on March 29th. This is a developing story, check back for updates.