A 17-year-old Mesa boy charged in the stabbing of his teenage friend during a party last week is claiming self-defense.
Frank Aguilar pleaded not guilty this week in Maricopa County Superior Court to second-degree murder and attempted arson charges in connection with the Nov. 26 stabbing death of Alexander Niazi, also 17, of Gilbert.
Aguilar told police that Niazi first pulled an 8-inch knife on him, according to a Maricopa County Superior Court document. However, Aguilar said he was able to take the knife away before he began stabbing Niazi in the stomach with it. After Niazi fell to the ground, Aguilar continued stabbing him with it, according to the court document.
The attempted arson charge against Aguilar stemmed from him allegedly dragging Niazi's body to a dumpster before he threw his bloody clothes and knife into the dumpster. He had attempted to set the body on fire with a household cleaner as an accelerant, according to the document.
The pair began fighting at the Superstition Villas Apartments in Mesa after Aguilar became angry with Niazi for kissing his 14-year-old sister, who later had to be taken to a nearby hospital for alcohol intoxication, the court document stated.
The investigation is ongoing.