Oildale

Murder charge dropped against man involved in Oildale stabbing

Murder charge dropped against man involved in Oildale stabbing
Stabbing suspect Ronald Burchett, 57, is seen in a photo provided Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, by the Kern County Sheriff's Office.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A homeless man arrested and booked on suspicion of murder in the death of 23-year-old Steven Caleb Corpe will not face any criminal charges.

"After reviewing the case, I elected not to file charges," said Kern County Deputy District Attorney Nick Lackie.

According to Kern County sheriff's investigators, a fight broke out between Corpe and 57-year-old Ronald Burchette the night of Dec. 18 outside the Dollar General store on Roberts Lane.

During a jailhouse interview with Eyewitness News, Burchette said he and Corpe argued and that Corpe went after him with a Taser.  Burchette said he armed himself with a knife. Lackie said investigators found a Taser at the scene.

"It is consistent with the defendant's account that there was a Taser involved and the victim was wielding that," said the prosecutor.

Lackie said the facts raised a significant self-defense issue.

"I looked at the case and didn't real feel after doing that that I could go to a jury and ask them to find that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,"  said Lackie.

Corpe leaves behind a wife and an 8-month-old baby.

Should new evidence surface in the case, Lackie said it is possible Burchette could be arrested and charged, depending on the evidence.