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Mount Pleasant murder suspect appears in court as attorneys claim he stabbed teen in self-defense

March 29, 2017

A Mount Pleasant teen charged with murder in the fatal stabbing a classmate in 2015 is in court Wednesday as his attorneys ask that he be granted immunity from prosecution, citing the state’s “stand your ground” law.

Attorneys for Matthew Fischer argue he acted in self-defense when he stabbed 17-year-old Lucas Cavanaugh during a fight sparked by a heated text message exchange.

The S.C. Protection of Persons and Property Act allows some people to use deadly force if faced with an imminent threat of harm.

Fischer was visiting his girlfriend on Baltusrol Lane in Mount Pleasant on Jan. 18, 2015, when she started getting iMessage texts from Cavanaugh on her iPod.

Cavanaugh was close friends with Fischer’s girlfriend. The teens attended Wando High School.

Fischer took over the device and told Cavanaugh to stop meddling in his relationship, he told police.

The teens texted back and forth until Fischer encouraged Cavanaugh to “come over,” and, Fischer said, “I’ll (expletive) kill you.”

Cavanaugh drove from Sullivan’s Island to the girlfriend’s home and arrived to find Fischer and the girl outside.

Fischer’s attorneys claim Cavanaugh got out of his car and charged at Fischer. They fell to the ground, and Cavanaugh put Fischer in a headlock.

Fischer, who was 16 at the time, told police he broke free from Cavanaugh’s grasp before he grabbed a folding pocket knife from his pocket, closed his eyes and stabbed the teen. Cavanaugh suffered a cut on his hand, a puncture wound on the left side of his chest and another in his stomach.

In court Wednesday, Fischer testified that he was in a headlock at the time of the stabbing and was losing his breath. In a previous court filing, his attorney Andy Savage said Cavanaugh choked and beat him repeatedly until Fischer drew the knife in self-defense.

“I didn’t mean to kill him,” Fischer testified. “I just needed to get him off of me. He had me in a chokehold and I couldn’t breathe.”

Fischer’s girlfriend, the only witness to the altercation, was expected to testify after an afternoon recess.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.