Braidan Coy

Braidan Coy 

NEW ALBANY — A jury trial is underway in Floyd County for a New Albany man accused of attempted murder after police say he stabbed his friend in the neck causing serious damage.

Braidan C. Coy, 18, is charged with a level 1 felony for attempted murder and a level 3 felony for aggravated battery with substantial risk of death, for a February incident in which police say he stabbed John Wheeler while both were in the victim's truck.

Court records show police were called to Wheeler's mother's residence on Oak Street just after 10 p.m. Feb. 27, by Wheeler. Police found Wheeler near the property in his truck "bleeding profusely" — a knife was also found on the floorboard of the truck. He was take to University of Louisville Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for a severed artery and vagus nerve.

A New Albany police officer who was first to the scene testified in court Tuesday that when they found Wheeler, he had about a five to six inch wound on his neck; the officer pinched the carotid artery to stop blood loss while the ambulance was on the way.

As a result of the injury, court records show Wheeler suffered a stroke and brain damage, and in March was reported to have partial paralysis.

Wheeler's mother told police her son and Coy had come into the house to get blankets at about 8:40 that night; she said neither had a place to stay and that both had been living in his truck for about a month. Police found in records that officers had also investigated the two parked several days prior at the New Albany riverfront and checked for outstanding warrants; neither had any.

A witness later told police Coy came to his house around 11 p.m. the night of the stabbing, had wide eyes and said he had done something "really bad" and asked if he could come in. The witness said no, and Coy reportedly ran away.

When questioned by police, Coy admitted he had been in the truck, and said Wheeler had put a knife to his throat and that he had disarmed him.

During opening statements Tuesday in Floyd County Superior Court No. 1, defense attorney Bill Gray told the jury that Coy had defended himself when he woke up to find his best friend with a knife to his neck.

"Something happened inside that truck and he fought back and took off," Gray said. "I think you'll find his actions inside that truck were self defense."

Floyd County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Chris Lane said that's not the case, and that the state intended to call among its witnesses police, emergency personnel, crime scene investigators and Wheeler himself, to show that it's not.

"Through its evidence, we anticipate...that the state will prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt," he said.

Coy is also expected to testify during the trial.

Aprile Rickert is the crime and courts reporter at the News and Tribune. Contact her via email at aprile.rickert@newsandtribune.com or by phone at 812-206-2115. Follow her on Twitter: @Aperoll27.

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