UPDATE: Murder suspect says he acted in self-defense

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A Wilmington man is dead and another behind bars after a late-night stabbing led to the Port City's first murder of 2014.

Police say Martin Yakimovich, 32, died late last night after being stabbed. Police responded Around 11 p.m. to 318 McRae Street for a domestic dispute. When officers arrived they say they found Yakimovich on the floor of the home with stab wounds. He later died at the hospital.

Witnesses told police the stabbing happened after Yakimovich and Shelby Lentz, 19, got into an argument. Lentz ran from the house, but later turned himself into police.

Lentz is in jail charged with second-degree murder, but told WWAY in a jail-house interview Saturday that he acted in self-defense.

"I regret that he died, but I don’t regret that I did what I needed to do to protect myself and her," said Lentz.

Lentz says Yakimovich and his girlfriend were arguing all day, and it finally escalated.

"He had his hand around her neck. He came over and swung and hit me in the forehead," said Lentz. "I had a knife in my back pocket. At that point, the only thing I could think to do was to stop him. I pulled the knife out and I stabbed him in the stomach."

Lentz says Yakimovich was twice his size and three times the size of Yakimovich's former girlfriend. Lentz says stabbing him was the only way to protect himself and the girl.

"He would have killed her eventually," said Lentz. "If I had walked out of that house and left last night without doing anything, she would be the one dead and he would be the one sitting her doing this interview."

The Department of Corrections website shows Lentz was convicted of 19 criminal counts in 2011 and 2012, including assault on an officer, assault on a handicapped person, disorderly conduct, larceny and 12 counts of financial card fraud.

Lentz was also arrested in 2011 for refusing to leave an Occupy Wilmington protest outside Wilmington City Hall. He was later acquitted of charges in the case.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

As I read through your comments I see a common theme, hatred. One person was murdered and another has lost his freedom but yet all you can talk about is the poor court system in NC and a person's criminal record. Have any of you made a mistake? Because from what I'm reading the people making comments are perfect. Please don't get it confused, I am by no means justifying the acts of Lentz but I often see the same hatred here reflected on another group of people no matter what the case may be. The right thing to do is to call law enforcement in situations like this but could you say what you would do put in any aggressive situation? The comments here are why more people need to exercise their rights to vote, because 9 out of 10 times it's people like yourselves who are behind the poor NC Justice system and are attempting to crucify people!

I be this thug can't wait to get his teardrop tattoo, he just earned. It will compliment his neck tattoo quite well.

I am sure you "accidently" left out that he was a Hoggard High School graduate. If he had of gone to NH I am sure that would have been mentioned in the article.

Hoggard Drop out and Lakeside alum.

excuse me Tom, but this man here never graduated from Hoggard. He may have gone to Hoggard for a year or two, but he never graduated from that school

So this kid has 19 counts against him...so he obviously tries to take the laws into his own hands...a normal person would have called 911 instead of stabbing....he deserves to be behind bars FOR LIFE!

Mr. Lentz is an outstanding, innocent, young man. He would never lie, steal, or even think of hurting anyone. Just look at his record ....

http://webapps6.doc.state.nc.us/opi/viewoffender.do?method=view&offender...

Yeah Right. And he's only 19. Thug Puke.

How was this waste of space still allowed to walk the streets, carrying a knife, with a rap sheet like that? Does the State of North Carolina have an answer to that question?

Looks like this Hope and Change voter may get some of the hope and change he so desires...we can only hope. Hey, the good news is that tuhe cannot vote from behind bars...yet anyway. I'll be glad to get ordaned just to get him married off to Bubba.

The mentality of an "Occupier".

Really? Are all the Occupiers like this? I bet crazy Berger is an Occupier.
No, wait, he's a Teabagger. All the teabaggers are like Berger, right?

The report says: "The Department of Corrections website shows Lentz was convicted of 19 criminal counts in 2011 and 2012, including assault on an officer, assault on a handicapped person, disorderly conduct, larceny and 12 counts of financial card fraud."..........The revolving door policy aka the court system strikes again. How many murders could be prevented if they would punish them instead of releasing them? Assault on a handicapped person?????? IT would appear that there was no one in the court system that thought this was even a red light. A person is now dead because the court system failed to do it's job once again.

Now what does that tell you about the court and legal system in NC. The police are doing their job, but the sorry court and legal system just seems to put these people back on the streets. I think its time you start building more jails and lock these dam people up and screw your bond system also. It doesnt work. Maybe you should go to Pa. and see how they deal with crime. Im retired from law enforcement/corrections from PA. Our system works a whole lot better than NC. And this polical position of Insurance Commissioner is nothing but someone with some deep pockets sucking off NC residents.

Why was this guy even on the streets? Sounds like he should have been in jail a long time ago! They need to keep him this time!!!

An Occupy wallstreet liberal used a knife to kill? This is why we need common sense gun control.

I Am tiard and I have not slept would someone please tell me what Tom is talking about Martin Did Graduate from Hogard High School .So what if he didnt go to New Hanover His step Mother taught there and retired from New Hanover Are you saying that where he went to school and graduated from makes a differense about him being murdered you all need to read Martin facebook where it says (I Would Rather WAlK In DARKNESS WITH GOD THAN IN THE LIGHT ALONE)what is wrong with you people just be glad to be alive.