A Lincoln man who pulled a butcher knife at a Taco Bell where he worked and held it to a co-worker's back last year swore under oath he did it in self defense.
But the Lancaster County jury didn't buy it.
Thursday afternoon, jurors deliberated for about 3½ hours before finding 26-year-old Marcus Kent guilty of terroristic threats and use of a deadly weapon, charges that could get him up to 25 years when he's sentenced in June.
About 7:15 p.m. on March 7, 2013, Kent picked up a knife with an 8-inch blade from a butcher block in the kitchen prep area of the Taco Bell at 7133 Pioneers Blvd. and put it to his co-worker's back while he took a customer's order at the register.
A manager said she ran up to Kent, took the knife from him and fired him, and he left. Police arrested him a day later.
At first, Kent told police it was a joke. At trial, he testified that he had felt threatened by the other employee, who he said was in a gang and talked of doing drive-by shootings. He said he used the knife to pat him down for a gun.
In closing arguments, Deputy Lancaster County Public Defender Robert Hays argued that's not a threat.
The state disagreed.
"That's not only not reasonable, it's not even in the world of reasonableness," Deputy Lancaster County Attorney Bruce Prenda said.
Kent said he had complained to the manager before the incident, but she did nothing.
The manager denied it and said she heard Kent say he was going to stab the 17-year-old man he'd worked with for about a month, then saw him walk straight to him, with purpose, and hold the knife to his back and whisper something in his ear.