PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A motion filed this week claims a woman who fatally stabbed someone last month acted in self-defense.

The document, filed in the Peoria County Circuit Clerk‘s office, states Lauraine Singleton, 41, of 715 Morgan St., was previously threatened by James Davis and she believed he would follow through on his claims.

“The Defendant believed that the deceased, James D. Davis would kill her, in part,
because Davis claimed he’d killed before,” according to the motion asking a judge to allow Singleton to argue self-defense at her eventual trial.

Singleton faces two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the May 14 stabbing death of Davis, her ex-boyfriend, according to court records. Davis died at a local hospital shortly after police arrived at 2:20 p.m. that day at Singleton’s apartment, according to court records.

She appeared in court to be arraigned on the charges. She pleaded not guilty and a Dec. 11 trial was set in the courtroom of Circuit Judge John Vespa.

Her attorney also filed a motion to have her released from jail given her poor health. Vespa set a hearing for June 5 to hear arguments on both requests.

Singleton’s self-defense motion claims Davis went to Singleton’s apartment uninvited and then refused to leave. The motion further claims that he took her cell phone a day prior.

Singleton, the motion states, believed that arming herself with a knife was “reasonable” to prevent harm to herself given his past where he allegedly physically and sexually abused her.

“She also had no phone because Davis had taken the Defendant’s phone from her the day before,” the motion stated.

At her bond hearing last month, prosecutors said police were called to the three-story apartment building and found, outside of Singleton’s apartment, Davis lying on the ground with a stab wound to his chest.

Singleton had a large cut to her arm but no other injuries. Prosecutors said the incident was preceded by an argument. They also pointed to surveillance footage where Singleton is seen on video without any injuries, wearing her glasses and smoking a cigarette as she walks to a neighbor’s apartment before returning to her apartment.

Later, the video shows her coming out of her place again, but this time, her arm was bleeding, according to prosecutors at the bond hearing.

If convicted of all counts, she faces at least 20 and possibly up to 60 years behind bars.